• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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TETFund to defund non-performing centres of excellence – Minister

Tahir Mamman

Tahir Mamman, the Minister of Education, has said the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) will defund any non-performing Centre of Excellence it established eight years ago.

Mamman said government will not continue to reward indolence by giving free money to institutions that are not doing what they are supposed to do.

The minister spoke in Abuja on Friday while receiving two reports of TETFund’s ad hoc committees on Assessment/Review of TETFund Centres of Excellence and Operationalisation of Skills Development Special Intervention.

“The government is encouraging our scholars to simply rise to the occasion and deliver on their scholarship, what world class scholars do; and we are not going to reward indolence.
We can’t be giving free money to institutions that are not doing what they are supposed to do.”

“In terms of the skilling, we want to raise the equipment level of those institutions, polytechnic and others so that they can provide all the skill set that we need in Nigeria in the highest quality that can service the country and internationally,” he said.

On his part, Sonny Echono, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, said the fund will not continue to throw money away to centres that are not living up to expectations.

Echono disclosed that some centres have funds with TETFund that they have not accessed since inception.

“The funds are with us because we have not released until you reach a milestone, but while they have delayed in reaching those milestones, are causes of concerns.

The TETFund boss noted that the strategy for establishing centres of excellence was a very good one because TETFund realised that it didn’t have enough resources to improve all the facilities of all public institutions at the same time.

“The idea was to incubate, to have one centre, the right equipment, the right tools, the right faculty and experts, that would lead our efforts in research, in promoting scholarship at the highest level so that they can also inspire other centres.”

“We are going to be pooling from other institutions within the area who want to do further research or who want to carry out any other exploratory study in those particular fields in those areas,” he said.

He however noted that some of the centres have done fantastically well since inception, stating that a lot of them are doing innovations.

“Sokoto just came up with one major solution for us. For example, they were the ones that discovered this vaccine for Covid, in partnership with other institutions. Now we are also in the process of getting vaccines for Lassa fever and so many others.”

“So, some are doing very well. And some have come up with prototypes that we now hoping to take to industries so that they begin to produce these goods and services,” he said.

On the non-performing institutions, he said “If you were established five years ago and you are still at your infancy, you have not been able to provide modern laboratories, facilities for scholars to come and learn, we want to know why. But we don’t want to be arbitrary.

“So, it decided to look at some institutions find out their relative positions in terms of the quality of their faculty, their reputation in certain courses and in in certain areas and designated them as centres of excellence for those particular courses.”

Earlier, the Committee on the Assessment/Review of TETFund Centres of Excellence, led by Oyewale Tomori, in its report, decline to recommend any centre for

The report noted that most centres did not utilise their first seed grant of N150 million for the initial infrastructures required in the centres, and advised TETFund to provide some bail out funds to the centres to enable the proper take off of the centres.

The committee also called on the fund to ensure that all funds for the Centre of Excellence are disbursed directly to the Centre of excellence account.

“if the Centres are to achieve set objectives, TETFund in collaboration with institutions hosting the centres should ensure that Centre Directors are on full time assignment at the Centre.”