By Frank Ulom
Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has announced that it has earmarked N198 billion intervention fund for public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education in the six geopolitical zones for the year 2023.
According to Abdulmumin Oniyangi, TETFund’s Acting Director of Public Affairs, the N198 billion intervention fund represents 62 per cent of the total N320 billion government-approved fund.
However, public higher institutions in Cross River were exempted from the funds. There are the University of Calabar (UNICAL), University of Cross River State (UNICROSS), Federal College of Education, FCE Obudu and Cross River State College of Education, COE Akamkpa.
CONVERSEER is yet to ascertain the reason behind the exemption of public schools from Cross River but, Oniyangi highlighted that TETFund’s interventions encompass various aspects, including research and infrastructure, emphasising the importance of equipping institutions for effective research endeavours.
He said: “Research is part of our intervention lines, we do content as well and not just infrastructure.
“Sending lecturers to do MSC, PhD and all that are in research and in the research itself, there is what we call the Institution Based Research (IBS) and this is also available not to talk of the National Research Fund (NRF). So our intervention is not skewed against anything. In any case, research cannot be undertaken if there is no equipment. So everything is working together.”
Meanwhile, Sonny Echono, Executive Secretary of TETFUND distributed allocation letters to heads of beneficiary institutions at the 2023 TETFund Strategic Planning Workshop in Abuja, which fall under the “Annual Direct Disbursement” category, aiming to assist tertiary institutions without discrimination based on size or requirements.
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According to The Whistler, Echono outlined the breakdown of funds allocated, mentioning the provision of N30 billion for High Impact Projects across selected institutions in Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones. This allocation under the Special High Impact Intervention includes substantial sums directed to universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education in specific zones.
The fund, which is allocated under TETFund’s Special High Impact Intervention, indicates that six universities would get N3 billion each, while N1 billion each would be given to six polytechnics and six colleges of education spread across the geo-political zones.
“For this year, the Special High Impact will be given to six universities, and the six universities are IBB University, Lapai, Niger State from the North Central zone; Federal University, Wukari, Taraba State from North East.
“Federal University, Birnin-Kebbi from North West, Imo State University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences from South East, Edo State University in South South and Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, from South West.
“The beneficiary Polytechnics are Federal Polytechnics, Offa, Kwara; Federal Polytechnic, Gombe; Federal Polytechnic, Kabo, Kano; Anambra State Polytechnic, Mgbakwu; Federal Polytechnic of Oil and Gas, Bonny; and Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology; Igbo-Ora.
“Also, Plateau State College of Education, Gindiri; Federal College of Education, Yola; Federal College of Education, Zaria; Enugu State College of Education, Enugu; Delta State College of Education, Mosogar; and Tai Solarin College of Education, Omu-Ijebu,” he said.
Echono also explained that 20 per cent of disbursements amounting to N64.2 billion would be utilised for special disbursement; adding that Special Intervention is at the discretion of the Board of Trustees of TETFund for which allocations are zonal based in line with the mandate of the agency.
He also said that other intervention activities have been earmarked for the year such as the establishment of micro-teaching laboratories in some selected Colleges of Education from the six geo-political zones in the country.
He listed the colleges as Federal College of Education, Otukpo, Benue State; Federal College of Education, Jama’are, Bauchi State; Federal College of Education, Sokoto State; and Federal College of Education, Isu, Ebonyi State.
Others are the Federal College of Education, Ekiadolor, Edo State; and Federal College of Education, Iwo, Osun State, noting that the N500 million is allocated to each of the colleges.
He said other allocations included N2 billion for Teaching Practice exercises in Colleges of Education and N1 billion for the establishment of the Diaspora Research Centre, to be sited in the University of Ibadan to create a platform for Nigerians home and abroad to exchange ideas and discoveries in innovation, research and development.
The TETFund boss also announced that N12 billion had been allocated for the completion of distressed projects, while N3 billion for the establishment of innovation hubs across the geo-political zones of the country.
According to him, the National Research Fund (NRF) aims to revitalise the objectives of addressing the critical need for high-quality manpower to drive the nation’s economy and development aspirations Towards attaining the Nation’s Vision 20:20 and beyond.
He further explained that the Intervention focused on applied research that addresses areas of national concern such as National Security, National Integration and Peace Studies.
Other areas are Education and Training, Economic Development, Agriculture, Food Security, and Technology Processes, Power and Energy, ICT and Telecommunication, Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation, and environmental issues, among others.