By Zubairu Idris
Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says it has spent N9 billion on public tertiary institutions in the country to enable them undertake research in various disciplines, under National Research Fund (NRF).
TETFund Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Elias-Bogoro, disclosed this on Monday at the 35th Conference of Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU), held at Kano State University of Science and Technology (KUST), Wudil.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the conference has, as its theme: “Pathways to Green Investing, Creative Funding and DARQ Technology in Nigerian Universities.”
Elias-Bogoro, represented by Hajiya Hadiza Abdullahi, explained that the fund awarded a total of 240 grants to the institutions.
He described NRF as an intervention, aimed at promoting the conduct of applied research and innovation by academics in public tertiary institutions.
According to him, the research and innovations will assist in driving the country’s socio-economic development in an increasingly globalised and highly competitive knowledge-driven world.
In his remarks, Gov. Abdullahi Ganduje, said that his administration would continue to accord education top priority, adding that no nation could develop above the level of its educational system.
This, he said, was why his administration had declared free and compulsory education in the state.
Represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Alhaji Usman Alhaji, Ganduje said that his government had sponsored accreditation of more than 240 academic programmes at the state-owned tertiary institutions.
He also stated that his administration would begin consequential adjustments of salaries of staffers of all the institutions.
The acting Chairman, AVCNU, Prof. Timothy Olagbemiro, noted that universities worldwide were required to explore creative solutions to societal challenges.
He said that the country’s higher educational system remained the largest in Africa, pointing out that currently, there were 197 universities in the country.
Olagbemiro, however, identified funding as the major challenge facing Nigerian universities.
He said that the institutions were also facing problems of attack and kidnap, sometimes leading to killing of students.
“To address these challenges, we are proposing a meeting with all stakeholders to discuss the way forward, especially on how to fund higher education in Nigeria and ensure campus security,” he said.
Also speaking, Vice-Chancellor of KUST Wudil, Prof. Shehu Alhaji-Musa, said that the Chancellor of the university, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, would sponsor the recruitment of 15 professors for the institution, both within and outside the country, for four years.
Alhaji-Musa said that the chancellor had also promised to support the institution’s agricultural blueprint on rice, sugarcane, tomatoes, palm oil and fish production, covering more than one million farmers.
He commended TETFund, CBN, NCC and National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), among others, for their continuous support to the university. (NAN)