The Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund), has said that there would henceforth be a paradigm shift in needs assessment, interventions, and monitoring of such interventions by the agency in the nation’s tertiary educational institutions.
The Board has equally announced that going forward, e-learning would enjoy priority in Tetfund’s interventions across Nigeria.
The Chairman, Tetfund Board, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, made these known at the weekend during an interactive session with the management and students of the University of Abuja and inspection of Tetfund-sponsored projects to kick-start a tour of over 50 universities in 18 states.
“A lot of money has been disbursed by Tetfund since its inception to better the 226 universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education. Tetfund’s interventions in the past three years and next year put together, is in the region of N1 trillion.
“So, our visit here is two-fold. Number one, we want to inspect, we want to see, we want to hear from you. Has Tetfund impacted? This is very important. Have we invested in critical infrastructure? What is the effect of our investments in research? Are we getting value for money?
“The second component is, what more should we do? There is a paradigm shift at Tetfund because we will not sit down at Tetfund to determine what your needs are. We must consult you, both management and students. What are the critical needs of the University of Abuja? What areas should Tetfund focus on? We want to be guided by you going forward.
“It wouldn’t do for us to just be throwing money. We want the money that we are spending to impact most positively on academia, on the faculties, on the students, on learning, on research”, he added.
The interactive session also had in attendance the Executive Secretary of Tetfund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, other board members and management of the agency.
On the efforts to reposition the University of Abuja, to raise it to premier status befitting of the nation’s capital, Imam said: “Tetfund has designated the University of Abuja as a Centre of Excellence. We have 12 Centres of Excellence spread across the country and we are investing N1 billion in each of them. But we have also in consultation with the Vice-Chancellors decided that each of the universities will focus on one critical area. For Abuja, it is Governance and Leadership.
“For the year 2020, I am happy to inform you that by the time we are done this year, we are looking at spending a total of N10 billion on critical infrastructure in the University of Abuja.
“There is one very critical element that is the most important today, namely e-learning. So, Tetfund, in consultation with the University of Abuja will be investing in laying the necessary infrastructure that will facilitate e-learning on this campus. Towards this, already as I speak, 20km of fibre optics are being laid across the University. Today, I will also inspect the site where we are going to build a brand new and state-of-the-art ICT Centre. We want a place where students can learn in a 21st-century environment”.
Imam added that part of the money voted for the University of Abuja would go into the construction of a new senate building, and a 1,000 capacity international conference centre, while the agency would collaborate with the authorities of the University of Abuja to develop a 2,000-bed space accommodation for the students.
In their various contributions, the management and students of the University led by the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed-N’Allah, commended Tetfund for its various interventions in the University and the painstaking need assessment and monitoring approach, which they said the current board had brought in priming the agency’s intervention in institutions.