By Felix Khanoba
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) says it has so far sponsored 26,000 Nigerians for Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and masters degrees programmes within and outside the shores of the country.
Executive Secretary of the Fund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, stated this on Tuesday in Abuja when the House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services paid an oversight visit to the agency.
His words: “We have to invest on the human capital through academic staff training and development. We have sponsored over 26,000 PhD and master degrees almost in equal numbers overseas and within the country.
“We have recently introduced post doctoral support for those who have just finished their PhD up to a period of five years for the purposes of undertaking post doctoral research.
“We are hoping that those aspects will contribute to improving the ranking of universities that are at the first reference in terms of the education sector for any nation,” he said.
While saying that over 200 beneficiary institutions had so far benefitted from the 15 areas of intervention of the Fund, Bogoro said the move has progressively advanced the sector.
Speaking further, the TETFund boss said the Fund in 2019 introduced the Research and Development Department, which was given a boost by the N5 billion research grant approved by President Muhammadu Buhari for the national research fund of TETFund.
“Recently we approved 128 research grants and we are hoping if Mr President approves a proposal that has been made by the Board of Trustees for an increase in the research grant, it will have a positive impact on the sector.
“We are therefore positive that we are likely to have an increase in that amount and with this there is an increased awareness in the universities system that our universities, polytechnics and colleges of education cannot continue to emphasise teaching at the expense of research.
” That is the new area where we are investing massively. For some time now TETFund has been associated with merely building and we are saying that we want a paradigm shift. This is not to say that we will stop Physical infrastructure.
“We need them but even more important is the content of building the relevant areas of support for competitiveness of Universities,” he said.
Responding, Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Suleiman Aminu, assured of the committee readiness to boost the activities of the Fund.
“TETFund is one organisation that we are not only passionate about but one of the best creations that Nigeria as a country.
“The confidence and trust of the Fund had made the government unofficially assume that the capital of our institution now lies with TETFund,” he said.