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TETFUND Seeks Innovation To Fast-Track National Development

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The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, says there is a need to nationalise innovation and technology to fast-track the much-needed national development.
Bogoro said this while speaking at the seventh School of Postgraduate Studies Annual lecture (2019/2020) of the University of Lagos (UNILAG) last Thursday.
According to him, the mileage attained by the most great economies today is tied to the huge investments on  technology and innovations.
“We need to think and act fast in investing in our universities and other tertiary institutions  toward that direction.
“If we should do things right, the frustrations that have hung over our institutions, especially the universities, will disappear.
“On our part, we shall continue to support research works and innovations in our tertiary institutions as this is what drives national development,” he said.
The executive secretary lamented that the traditional appropriation funding window for public universities in the country had failed the nation.
Bogoro noted that for universities to effectively carry out their mandate of teaching, research and community development, there must be enhanced funding.
“The dwindling revenue in the country has posed serious threat to these institutions and therefore, emphasises the need for us to do more in driving and supporting research and development.
“The out of the box innovative option of funding our public univers*ities as negotiated and secured by the Academic Staff Union of Universities, after four painful years of negotiation, is considered as the saving grace in the sustainability and  improved ranking of our universities.
“Most of the interventions carried out so far on our tertiary institutions of higher learning as can be seen in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education have been carried out by the TETFund.
“Having said this too, I will say there is also the need to shore up the content components of these institutions from about 15 per cent to 33 per cent,” he said.
According to him, after the commitment of huge Tetfund intervention funds in improving basic physical infrastructure in these public universities and in consultation with relevant stakeholders, there can be a paradigm shift from physical structures to mainly content components.
He noted that areas such as research, academic staff training and development, library development and other areas could also be considered.
The TETFund boss who was the guest lecturer commended UNILAG for its research efforts, noting that it had rightfully earned its place as one of Africa’s best in that space.
 ”Universty of Lagos is the best performer on the National Research Fund grant. They have been very persistent  and I want to say that the quality of leadership in this university has made all these possible.
“It takes a serious academic to believe in research and go ahead to win grants. We will continue to support focused leadership in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education,” Bogoro said.
Earlier in his address, the Vice Chancellor of UNILAG, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the primary objective of the institution was to provide academic and research programmes.
Ogundipe noted that these programmes were geared toward meeting the high-level needs for knowledge, skills and capacity development in Nigeria and the world at large.
He said the school had since grown in leaps and bounds with more than 15,000 registered students on its various programmes for the session.
According to him, out of the figure, over 8,000 students are expected to graduate at the upcoming convocation ceremony in July.
“This is turning our institution into a postgraduate university in line with the expectation of the Federal Government first generation universities.
“No doubt, financing in Nigeria is a daunting task. It is a major factor for the recurring decimal of industrial actions and closure of our ivory towers. It has charged educational administrators to evolve strategies of generating additional funds.
“ Pursuit of qualitative education at the postgraduate level remains a financial burden that requires collective responsibility of all stakeholders. This is a pursuit that the TETFund has demonstrated.
“Permit me to remark that the TETFund has been of immense benefit to lecturers, researchers and graduate students at the University of Lagos. 
“It has provided and maintained some facilities for us. A typical example is the University Scholars’ Suites, which has been very useful in accommodating visiting scholars to the university.
“This has aided our partnerships and our research and training efforts, with co-institutions in Nigeria and overseas among other benefits,” Ogundipe said.
He added that recently, TETFund signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) that would train 17 academic staff  nominees from UNILAG outside the country.
“The  University of Lagos was chosen as a virtual hub for the programme,” he said.
In his remark, Chairman of the occasion, Dr Ernest Ndukwe stressed  the need for the private sector and education institutions  to work together for mutual benefits.
“It is when the private sector practitioners recognise the importance  and benefits of research that they finance research,” he said.
According to Ndukwe who is also the Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria,  innovation is directly related to the adequacy of its available trained manpower resources. 
“This is why the government and public sector and other international fund agencies and some private organisations are traditionally funding education and research,” he added.
He, however, said there was a need for universities to be look for ways to expand on other funding opportunities for research due to dwindling resources of government in recent times
Earlier, the Dean of the School of Postgraduate Studies of the university, Prof. Alabi Soneye, said while higher education remained a paramount source of knowledge, qualitative research remained the veritable tool in the development and advancement of society.
According to him, the mirage of challenges bedevilling sustainable development may not cease in a hurry if inadequate funding continued to impede qualitative higher education and in-depth researches. (NAN)

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NBTE Tasks Polytechnics On Expired Programmes Accreditation

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The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has urged Polytechnics to fast track the process of accreditation for their expired programmes.
The Acting Zonal Director of the NBTE in the North Central Zone, Dr Musa Koko, made the call during a familiarisation visit to the Kogi Polytechnic, Lokoja.
Koko assured polytechnics of the NBTE’s support to ensure quality assurance at all times.
He said that the team was at the institution to strengthen partnership aimed at activating the National Skills Qualifications programmes which will further raise the standard of the Polytechnic and produce more qualified professionals in vocational and technical areas.
He said the NBTE established zonal offices across the country with the aim of enhancing quality service delivery to the closest reach of all stakeholders.
Responding, Dr Salisu Ogbo Usman, Rector of the Polytechnic, commended the NBTE for decentralising the activities of the Board for enhanced efficiency.
The rector who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Kehinde Lamidi, said the decentralisation was a demonstration of dynamic administrative prowess aimed at enhancing effective service delivery.
Usman said the Polytechnic was committed to quality service delivery to students, adding that the institution would soon be visiting NBTE for the completion of its accreditation processes.
He noted that the State Government under Gov. Yahaya Bello and the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund) had been playing huge roles in improving infrastructural development and aesthetic touch in the institution.
The Rector promised the Zonal Office of the Polytechnic’s readiness to comply with its directives and solicited it’s to make Technical Education more attractive to students in view of its vintage position in the nation’s development quest.

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MBBS Degree: RSU Increases Admission Quota To 100

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Sequel to the approval of the award of degree in Medicine and Surgery in the Rivers State University (RSU), hopes have again been rekindled for candidates seeking for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree with the increase of admission quota from 50 to 100.
This followed the approval by the accreditation visit of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria on the institution’s MBBS programme alongside the accreditation by the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Speaking at a press briefing in PortHarcourt, at the weekend, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof Nlerum Okogbule said the increase in the admission quota was feasible due largely to the huge infrastructural facilities and personnel engagement facilitated by the Rivers State Government ably led by Governor Nyesom Wike.
Okogbule described the increase in admission quota as a rare feat for a new medical college and commended the state governor for the gestures in raising the college to its feet.
According to him,16 out of the 23 programmes presented  to the NUC for the accreditation exercise in April this year received full accreditation with the remaining seven having interim accreditation status.
“I am happy to inform you that based on the accreditation visit of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria on our programme between 30th and 31st March, 2021, our college of Medical Science has been given approval for the training of medical students for the MBBS Programme”, Okogbule said.
The Vice Chancellor also said “the council also approved the increase of our admission quota from 50 to 100. This is a rare feat for a new medical college and it is in recognition of the enormous infrastructural facilities and personnel engagement done by the Rivers State Government under the able leadership of governor Nyesom Wike”.
Okogbule further revealed that no programme from the University was denied accreditation, adding that it scored 72.7 percent in the exercise.

By: Lady Godknows Ogbulu

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Monarch Charges Students On Hard Work

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Students of higher institutions in Rivers State have been enjoined to work hard to be good citizens of their communities, state and the nation at large.
They have also been advised to shun all social vices inimical to the norms of the society as leaders of tomorrow.
The Amanyanabo of ancient Ele Kingdom in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area, King Felix Tamunoseipiriala Okuru Apina VII gave the advice while addressing executives of Law Students Association of Nigeria, Rivers State University Chapter and Wakirike Students Union (WASU), Kenpoly, Bori in Khana Local Government Area during a courtesy visit to him at his palace to intimate him of their forthcoming end of year activities.
King Tamunoseipiriala who expressed delight with the law students said they should not be misled but focus on their chosen career, stressing that he has love for the Law profession.
He further enjoined them to always be proud of their studies so as to come out in flying colours, assuring that with qualifications, they would surely get employment despite the economic hardship in the country.
He charged them to utilise the God-given opportunities in their lives by making their parents proud for better tomorrow and also stressed the importance of education as the bedrock of any development, assuring them of his assistance to their forthcoming celebrations in their various schools.
The monarch also appealed to parents to strive in training their children and wards to become better citizens and prayed God to guide, protect, and give them wisdom and knowledge to achieve their heart desires.
Earlier, a former lawmaker of Ogu/Bolo Legislative Assembly, Hon Fiberesima Minaseichinbo and an elder in the Kingdom, Ibiye Nemieboka thanked them for their visit to the education-friendly King and philanthropist, and charged them to be good ambassadors of their parents and society by ensuring that they graduate with their mates by being consistent in their studies without allowing the schools to pass through them and wished them God’s protection.
Earlier in her speech, the chairperson of Law Students Association of Nigeria, Rivers State University Chapter, Faith Praise Ogbutara extolled the good works and philanthropic gestures of the King in his Kingdom and Rivers State in general by giving the youths a sense of belonging, adding that he is a King of high esteem that has passion for students.
The President disclosed that they are in the palace to officially invite him to their Cultural Day slated for October 16,2021 as the Royal Father of the day, pointing out that the ceremony was geared towards promoting the cultural heritage of the area.
Also, the President of WASU, Rivpoly Chapter, Comrade Victor Tamunotonye commended the monarch for the prevailing peace and development in the ancient Kingdom since he ascended the throne and prayed God to continue to give him good health, protection and wisdom to pilot the affairs of the Kingdom.
Tamunotonye thanked him for his benevolence to the students and also invited him to grace their forthcoming Students Day slated for September 25, 2021.

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