Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
Various institutions have continued to mount pressure on the federal government to further review the laws governing the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) for them to be listed as beneficiaries of the intervention fund.
The Executive Secretary, Dr. Abdullahi Baffa, who made this known after inaugurating some of the agency’s projects in Kano, expressed concerns about the “ugly” development.
Responding to the question on a request earlier made by the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Prof. Aminu Mohammad for TETFund to extend its intervention to the hospital, Baffa said it would amount to illegality for teaching hospitals to be included as beneficiaries.
He said reviewing the TETFund Act 2011 to accommodate more institutions would dilute the impact and defeat the aim of establishing the agency.
“When I said over 300 institutions are jostling to be included as beneficiaries, it was a conservative estimate. They are more than that. They include all private universities, polytechnics, colleges of education, all monotechnics that are public and all research centres.
“We have 203 beneficiary institutions that we are supporting and we have request from over 300 other institutions that are not qualified by the act to be brought on board.
“It is something worth looking at for us to expand the perimeter of the fund to include all these institutions, but we also have to look at the other side of the coin. Diluting the impact TETFund is making at the beneficiary institutions is going to be very counterproductive to the entire educational landscape.
Baffa added: “You recall that before 2011, TETFund was called Education Trust Fund, supporting education from primary schools to tertiary education. Because the original conception was targeted at supporting university education alone, government saw the opportunity to support the entire educational landscape which is good.
“But when it was experimented up to 2010, the regulation or control was extremely difficult and government decided to review the act and concentrate the intervention on tertiary education. The act defines tertiary education as public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education. In other word all monotechnics were excluded.
“We are to provide the basic infrastructure for teaching and learning, support the equipping of laboratories, workshop studios, support research activities, training of scholars to acquire higher education, attend conferences, support the publishing of manuscript and also be able to support the publishing of journals by these institutions and such other things that will be needed to improve the overall quality of tertiary education in the country.
He stressed that from 2011 till date, the educational landscape has changed because of the concentration of intervention in these institutions. “For instance if we are able to give N300 million to every university, once we expand; maybe we will be able to give N30 million to each university and this will go nowhere.”
The executive secretary noted that in 2015 for example, all universities in category A were given N338 million normal intervention, out of which N100 million was allocated for physical infrastructure.