The Tertiary Education Trust Fund has approved the sum of N292.7 billion for disbursement to select public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education across the country.
Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Prof Suleiman Bogoro, who made this known on Tuesday in Abuja, said the intervention which has been okayed by the Federal Government, would be spread to higher education institutions in each of the six geo-political zones in the country.
According to the 2021 disbursement plans, TETFund is to give N906 million to one university each from the six geo-political zones while N628 million will go to one polytechnic and one college of education from each of the six geo-political zones.
Bogoro spoke while welcoming all heads of beneficiary institutions to a one-day stakeholders briefing, at the Nigeria Airforce Conference Centre, Abuja.
He also disclosed that the Federal Government has given the responsibility of completing the National Library headquarters in Abuja to TETFund, explaining that the library project represents an important national asset that shouldn’t be ignored on account of funding challenges.
Bogoro also stressed the importance of research to national development, saying the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has been consistent in approving funds to see that academics churn out quality research that would address emerging challenges bedevilling the country.
He said this accounted for the setting up of the National Research Foundation which has consistently increased from N3 billion to N8.5 billion in recent times.
Professor Bogoro, who expressed delight that Nigeria is moving closer to an emergence of a National Research and Development Foundation, challenged academics in the country to turn around the fortunes of the country through cutting-edge research.
“Let us apply our innovative research outcome to solve the security problem, let us bring back value addition to the solid minerals that we are blessed with, it is one gold we have not explored to any significant level,” he said.
On the 2021 research grants to lecturers, Bogoro called on the nation’s academics to live up to expectations by writing good proposals, saying that the Fund is always ready to finance such academic exercise.
“I have signed the letters of allocation for the research grants that we are issuing out, 217. This is the highest research grant ever. It has never gone beyond 200. We have 217 research grants that have recently been approved,” Bogoro said.
Speaking on the recent special allocations by the TETFund’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Bogoro revealed that N5 billion each was approved for the University of Lagos (Unilag) and Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, for massive infrastructural projects’ development.
The TETFund boss said N1 billion was also approved for the fencing of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and another N1 billion for Imo State Polytechnic, Umuagwo, adding that more tertiary institutions would benefit from the special allocations in a not too distant time.
Bogoro said TETFund is also providing support to boost research activities in Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria (DICON), among others, to address the nation’s security challenges.
On TETFund’s intervention in the health sector, Bogoro stated that the Fund has provided N1 billion to one university in the six geo-political zones for medical research as well as providing facilities for treatment of major ailments like prostate cancer, kidney problems, among others.
“With the Urology and kidney facilities made available, we are expecting a number of our teaching hospitals to come up with the capacity granted the equipment we provided, they should be able to do kidney transplant etc, in our universities.
“We intend to continue strengthening some in terms of cancer facilities, urology research clinical facilities and heart facilities,” he said.
The forum also provided Bogoro with an opportunity to explain that the Board of TETFund has approved the review of course sponsorship abroad.
According to him, more emphasis would now be placed on master or PhD programmes that are science-based.
Among the overseas masters and PhD courses specializations with effect from August 2021 includes Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering, Biosciences, Biomedical Engineering, Material Science and Engineering, Industrial Systems and Engineering, Geosciences, Behavioural Sciences, Nuclear Engineering, Oceanography, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, among others.
The highlight of the event was the presentation of allocation letters to the beneficiary institutions.