Students Still Prefer Public Varsities, Others, Says TETFund Secretary

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Ugo Aliogo

The Executive Secretary Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Elias Bogoro, yesterday said 94 per cent of Nigerian students still enroll in public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education.

He said TETFUND has enough justification for investing its funds in public institutions.

He said the agency would devote attention to ICT because some intellectuals in the country are still in analog mode.

Bogoro, who made these submissions while receiving experts from the International Computer Driving Licence (ICDL) in Abuja, said Nigerian tertiary institutions must be operating at the same level with their competitors.

The ICDL delegation comprises Strategic Advisor, Mr. Etinick Mutinda and one of its Nigerian partners, Mr. A.U. Mustapha (SAN).

Bogoro said ICT was the driver of the knowledge-based economy and Nigerian universities needed to keep pace with international best practices and standards.

He said, “We have been emphasising on public tertiary institutions despite the fact that there are a number of private universities.

“But the factors which inform our emphasis on public universities have not changed. One is that the majority of students in Nigerian universities, polytechnics and colleges of education are in public tertiary institutions.

“As I am talking to you, it is 94 per cent. So, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has insisted that its position to focus on public institutions is justified. In terms of numbers, the public institutions are about an equal number with the private but in terms of students’ population, the public has 94 per cent population.

“As you would understand, the private institutions are charging fees in dollars, not in naira, which is definitely much weaker. There is therefore the justification that our funds should be attached to the public institutions.

“In the 21st century when knowledge economy has taken over from resource-based economy, we cannot lose focus of the fact that there are some elements that drive this knowledge. In the era of knowledge economy, Information and Communication Technology is actually the driver. That is the relevance of ICT and digitisation.

“The training and capacity building are pretty weak. In this country, there are some intellectuals, even many researchers that are analog. In fact, let me talk about a professor. They were our teachers, even as undergraduates. He said to me that some of us are manual. You talk about analog, but we are actually manual.

“That is unacceptable. When we go around the world, in the knowledge economy, we must be operating at the same level with our competitors. That is very important. And that is why I appreciate the two main areas of partnership and we are taking them serious.”

The Strategic Advisor, ICDL Foundation, Mr. Etinick Mutinda, said: “The initiative is to provide computer digital skills certification for people in the academic and non-academic in the education sector.

“ICDL is an international certification for computer literacy that is adopted by many governments and organisations across the world.

“This training will be offered through public tertiary institutions. They will be the ones providing the training. We are providing them with the curriculum and certification at the end of the training.”