• ˘When education minister, TETFund boss, read riot act to centres of excellence

    ˘when education minister tetfund boss read riot act to centres of excellence - nigeria newspapers online
    • 5Minutes – Read
    • 890Words (Approximately)

    Anyone who perceives the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) as an avenue to have a share of the “national cake” has been asked to perish the thought as the Federal Government has vowed to take steps to prevent leakages.

    Minister of Education, Prof. Tahir Mamman and the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono, at the presentation of reports of TETFund’s ad-hoc committees on Assessment/Review of TETFund Centres of Excellence and Operationalisation of Skills Development Special Intervention, threatened to defund non-performing Centres of Excellence.
    The Federal Government had established 27 Centers of Excellence eight years ago with the mandate to churn out top-notch innovations and professionals for the country’s development. However, the performances of some of the centres have been subpar.
    Dissatisfied, Mamman warned that the government would not continue to reward indolence by giving money to institutions that are not performing up to expectations.
    The minister, who acknowledged the pivotal role of the reports in steering a significant shift in the education sector, reiterated the government’s commitment to diversify learning approaches while highlighting proactive measures aimed at reshaping the country’s educational trajectory.

    Noting that the days of receiving reports without action are over, he gave the assurance that the recommendations would be swiftly implemented. He also emphasised merit-based disbursement of funds to the centres, insisting that each centre must demonstrate worthiness by meeting performance expectations.

    “Government is encouraging our scholars to simply rise to the occasion and deliver on their scholarship because we are not going to reward indolence.

    “In terms of skills, we want to raise the equipment level of benefiting public institutions so that they can provide all the skills in the highest quality that can service the country and internationally,” he said. Echono, on his part, disclosed that some centres had unclaimed funds with TETFund since inception.
    “The funds are with us because we don’t release funds until they reach a milestone. But their delay in reaching those milestones is a cause of concern. The idea was to incubate, have the right equipment, the right faculty and experts that would lead our efforts in research and promotion of scholarship at the highest level so that they can also inspire other centres,” he said.
    TETFund boss went further to identify outstanding centres, saying: “Sokoto just came up with one major solution for us. For example, they were the ones that discovered this vaccine for COVID in partnership with other institutions. Now, we are also in the process of getting vaccines for Lassa Fever and so many others.
    “Some have also come up with prototypes that we currently hope to take to industries so that they begin to produce these goods and services.” Echono noted that the strategy for establishing Centres of Excellence was laudable because the Fund realised that it didn’t have enough resources to improve all the facilities of all public institutions at the same time.
    Earlier, the Committee on the Assessment/Review of TETFund Centres of Excellence led by Prof. Oyewale Tomori, in its report, declined to recommend any centre for upgrade.
    The report noted that most centres did not utilise their first seed grant of N150 million for the initial infrastructures required in the centres. The committee however advised the Fund to provide bailout funds to some centres to facilitate their proper take off. The committee also called on the Fund to ensure that all monies for the centres are disbursed directly to their accounts.

    “If the centres are to achieve set objectives, TETFund in collaboration with institutions hosting the centres should ensure that Centre Directors are on full time assignment at the centre.

    “Centres that are not performing well should be given six months’ moratorium as a way to prevail on them to refocus and achieve their true mandate after which a revisit will be conducted to determine their status and continue funding,” the committee recommended.
    Presenting the report of the Advisory Committee on Operationalisation of TETFund Skills Development Special Intervention, Chairman of the Committee and Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Bugaje, said the panel recommended polytechnics for TETFund Special Intervention according the zones.
    Bugaje, who was represented by Dr. Nuru Yakubu, said the five schools visited in South-West showed preparedness except for the Polytechnic Ibadan because of the school leadership transition.
    “It is therefore recommended that in 2024, Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti State and Federal Polytechnic, Ede, Osun State should benefit from the fund.” For 2025, the committee recommended Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State and The Polytechnic, Ibadan, if they can sort out their preparations.

    For South-South, the committee recommended Port Harcourt Polytechnic, Rimuola, Rivers State and Akwa Ibom State Polytechnic, Ikot Osunaa for 2024 TETFund Special Interventions. For 2025, it recommended Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku and another polytechnic yet to be identified.

    For South-East, the Institute of Management and Technology (IMT), Enugu, was recommended for 2024 while Abia State Polytechnic, Aba, and Federal Polytechnic, Oko, Anambra State were ticked for 2025.
    In the North-East, the committee recommended Federal Polytechnic, Bauchi and Ramat Polytechnic, Maiduguri, for 2024 intervention. Adamawa State Polytechnic and Tatari Ali Polytechnic were endorsed for 2025.

    For the North-West, Polytechnics in Birnin Kebbi and Daura would be benefiting from 2024 while Kano State Polytechnic and Sokoto State Polytechnic are for 2025. The North-Central has Nasarawa State Polytechnic for 2024 while funding for 2025 will go to Lokoja and Ilorin Polytechnics.

    See More Stories Like This