President Muhammadu Buhari has reviewed upward the National Research Fund (NRF) of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) from N3 billion to N7.5 billion for the year 2020.
TETFund’s Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, who disclosed this yesterday at this year’s Board of Trustees (BoT) retreat of the organisation in Abuja, pointed out that the latest approval makes the agency the largest holder of research grant in Nigeria.
He added that the President also approved the establishment of six medical simulation research and clinical training facilities in six colleges of medicine in each geopolitical zone within the year.
Bogoro noted that the authorisation provided TETFund an 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 the disease’s test centres nationwide.
He hinted that the BoT approved over N200 million, to sponsor some coronavirus research proposals, mainly from universities and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC).
His words: “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) be established this year.
“Individually, this provided an opportunity for 12 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 was recently made the secretariat for Nigeria’s COVID-19 Research Consortium R&D.”
Setting out the agenda of the fund, the professor said approvals had been made in the 2020 budget for TETFund to “aggressively commit funds to reverse the embarrassing situation of hostel accommodation in tertiary institutions, and make learning environment more attractive to local and foreign students.”
According to him, only 15 per cent of Nigerian students were living in hostels on campus.
He added that the BoT had directed the management to contemplate e-learning in line with global best practice.
Also speaking, the BoT chairman, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, said the organisation constructed 80 auditoriums and lecture theatres in 223 institutions.
He added that the 12 newly established federal universities equally benefitted 500 classrooms, 2,383 administrative and staff offices, 40 fully equipped libraries, 250 science laboratories, 38 ICT centres, eights medical facilities and sick bays as well as 100 vehicles and other key infrastructure from TETFund.