- Designates UniAbuja centre of excellence, to spend N10bn on varsity
The Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Tetfund) says there will 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.
Chairman of Tetfund Board, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, made these known at the weekend and on Monday during separate interactive sessions with the managements and students of University of Abuja and University of Lagos, respectively, to kick-start a tour of over 50 tertiary institutions in 18 states during which it will also inspect Tetfund-sponsored projects.
At the University of Abuja, Ibrahim-Imam said: “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-folds. 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 raise the University of Abuja to a 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”.
Ibrahim-Imam, who also inspected the site for a state-of-the-art ICT Centre, added that part of the money voted for 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.
Meanwhile, the board has announced, among other supports, the provision of at least N1 billion for the development of the Urology and Kidney Centre in the University of Lagos as well as 2,000 bed spaces hostel accommodation for the students of the University.
Prof. Abdul-Rasheed N’Allah and Prof. Folashade Ogunsola, Vice Chancellor and Acting Vice Chancellor of University of Abuja and University of Lagos, respectively were on hand to conduct the Board around projects in their various institutions.