Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Executive Secretary, Trust Fund for Tertiary Education (TETFund), has called for more investment in research at the country’s universities.
Bogoro made the call while delivering a lecture marking the 12th Founder’s Day and 9th Convocation Ceremonies of Afe Babalola University (ABUAD) in Ado-Ekiti on Saturday.
He spoke about: “The university as a catalyst for regional economic development.”
Bogoro said investing in research was the best way to update radical development in the nation.
According to him, no country can develop or advance in innovation without adequate investment and exploration in research.
Bogoro advised university administrators to place great emphasis on research to achieve the desired difference.
“Endowment, research bases are the DNA of the Ivory towers over time.
“Unfortunately we are treating universities as if they were political enclaves, rather than enclaves or platforms to deepen knowledge, create knowledge and innovation.
“Sometimes you see square pegs that don’t go into square holes, even within the university system and these are areas that bother us.
“If you don’t have someone to create, promote, encourage and support problem-solving research by presiding over a university, then that university is destroyed,” he said.
The head of TETFund said the organization had endeavoured to make Nigerian universities globally recognized.
He said that TETFund had signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with foreign universities as a way to promote Nigerian universities to achieve global reckoning.
“As part of the new paradigm at TETFund, we are committed to the internationalization of our tertiary institutions, especially our universities.
“We are familiar with the rankings, metrics and parameters of universities worldwide.
“We are equally aware of the current status and positions of our universities in the parametric tables of the global ranking of universities.
“TETfund, under my leadership, is committed to ensuring improvement and, in fact, we are changing the narratives at our universities,” said Bogoro.
He said that the improvement of the ranking status of the University of Lagos and the University of Ibadan globally had been linked to the new R&D vigour of TETFund and the prioritization of content development in universities.
Bogoro said that in May 2020, TETFund secured a 25 per cent tuition discount for Nigerian scholars sponsored to pursue a PhD at Morgan State University (MSU), Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
“This landmark memorandum of understanding was signed at the peak of the first wave of COVID-19.
“The Memorandum of Understanding was significant because both the World Education Service (WES) and the English Language Test requirements for TETFund scholars studying at MSU were waived under this agreement,” he said.
Speaking, ABUAD Founder Chief Afe Babalola (SAN) said that there was a need for the law establishing TETFund to be reworked to allow private universities to benefit.
Babalola also called for the cessation of funding for infrastructure development in the country’s universities, saying that most publicly funded institutions should be able to embark on self-help infrastructure development.
He said that funding for universities should basically be for research purposes.
“Universities that are over 30 years old should not receive funds for infrastructure development; You are only spoiling them, don’t spoil them.
“Instead of giving money to well-established universities to build guest houses and other buildings, they should receive funding for research and innovation,” he said. (NAN)