Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has received approval to increase the National Research Fund (NRF) to N7.5 billion for the year 2020 from its initial N3 billion.
The approval, which was granted by President Muhammadu Buhari, provides TETFund the opportunity to provide 12 COVID-19 and related infectious disease molecular laboratories, two in each geopolitical zone, making the fund the highest single provider of COVID-19 test centres in Nigeria.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, who disclosed this at the 2020 TETFund Board of Trustees (BoT) retreat in Abuja, explained that the latest approval makes the agency the largest holder of research grants in Nigeria.
He also disclosed that the BoT of TETFund approved over N200 million to sponsor some COVID-19 research proposals mainly from universities and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
The executive secretary also said that Buhari approved the establishment of six medical simulation research and clinical training facilities in six colleges of medicine in each geopolitical zone this year.
Bogoro said: “In addition, the BOT also endorsed and was subsequently approved by the President that six Medical Simulation Research and Clinical Training facilities in six Colleges of Medicine (one in each geopolitical zone) are to be established this year.
“Individually, this provided an opportunity for twelve COVID-19 and related infectious disease Molecular Laboratories to be provided (two in each geopolitical zone), thus making TETFund the highest single provider of COVID-19 test Centres in Nigeria.
“The BOT also approved that TETFund sponsors some COVID-19 Research proposals to the tune of over N200 million, mainly from Universities and NAFDAC, this being one of the reasons TETFund has recently been made the Secretariat for the Nigeria Covid-19 Research Consortium R&D.”
Bogoro also said the agency received approval from the 2020 budget to aggressively commit funds to reverse the embarrassing situation of hostel accommodation in tertiary institutions and make learning environment more attractive for local and foreign students.
According to him, only 15 per cent of Nigerian students are living in hostel accommodation in their institutions.
He said the BoT has directed management of the agency to make recommendations towards migration of e-learning consistent with global best practice.
Chairman of the board, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, said the fund constructed 80 auditoriums and lecture theatres in the 223 beneficiary institutions between 2011 and 2019.
Ibrahim-Imam noted that the fund also constructed 500 classrooms, 2,383 administrative and staff offices, 40 fully equipped libraries, 250 science laboratories, 38 ICT centers, eight medical centers and sick bays, 100 vehicles and major infrastructures in the 12 newly establsihed federal universities.