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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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Group Warns Against Underage Drinking In Educational Institutions

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As concerns grow over underage drinking, especially among young students in higher institutions, the Beer Sectoral Group (BSG) has disclosed that its ‘Smashed Project,’ advocacy against underage alcohol drinking, has impacted over 65,000 adolescents in 35 institutions across the country in the last five years.
BSG Chairman, Baker Magunda, stated this at the launch of the fourth edition of the smashed programme in Abuja, as part of its renewed commitment to addressing the menace of underage drinking in Nigeria.
Smashed project is a programme of BSG, an umbrella body for leading brewing companies in Nigeria, who are members of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN). They include, Guinness, Nigeria Breweries and Ab-In Bev.
Smashed is a global project that started in 2005, with the aim of using drama and theatre to help adolescents understand the dangers of alcohol to their health.
Speaking, Magunda noted that the renewed effort is aimed at furthering the objective of the Smashed project in line with global strategy to reduce the harmful effects of underage consumption of alcohol.
“Every time young people experience the core messages of the smashed project through drama, it sticks because the message is clear and it also makes them avoid the social pressures of trying alcohol before they are of age. At BSG, we are committed to this and we will continue to invest in this programme,” Magunda said.

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Expert Harps On Importance Of Indigenous Languages

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A Professor of French and Translation Studies at the Ignatius Ajuru University of Education, Rumuolumeni,  Port Harcourt, Prof. Priye Enemi Iyalla-Amadi, has identified the importance of  indigenous languages  on the development of technology, and called on African leaders to take advantage of the multiplicity of languages to advance technology in Africa.
Amadi stated this while delivering her lecture at the 40th Inaugural Lecture Series of the institution titled: “Translation As Tool For Indigenous Language Engineering: The African Experiment,” last Thursday in Port Harcourt.
“Translation as a communicative tool, should serve as a needed bridge to provide a platform for accessing the world technological heritage of which we are all a part. I am charging you my fellow African speakers, that the technological future is here, so let’s own it linguistically.
“We have to be able to translate our languages, expressly using these languages to visualise what is being expressed. The power to invent like other countries across the globe lies in our ability to be able to understand and translate our indigenous languages,” Amadi added.
She lamented that Nigeria as an Anglophone country, has thrown away her various indigenous languages, making everyone disintegrated instead of united through their various indigenous languages that would have helped form a strong positive force in language translation as well as world affairs technologically.
“There is nothing wrong with a child to be able to speak six different languages. It is high time parents stop speaking English to their children, while at home. Leave English Language for their school teachers and speak your languages to them while they are home because this practice forms a strong family bond which finally transcends to national unity.”
She described Translation as the cross cultural, cross national and inter-disciplinary linguistic tool per excellence, saying that it can be used as a potent tool  for language engineering to better express thoughts, desires and linguistic goals of speakers of various languages, adding that through translation, members of different races, and tongues can unite to formulate policies and strategies aimed at the communal good.

By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana

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School Advises On Children’s Intellectual Dev

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The Director, Spring Lake School, Mrs Judith Usiakpor, has said the cognitive and psychological development of learners should be considered in teaching.
A statement signed by the school during its graduation ceremony said that the school ensured the provision of teaching and learning aids that would aid the development of learners’ cognitive and psychological tendencies.
It read, ‘‘Spring Lake School, a faith-based institution with a niche to providing exceptional day care services and after-school programmes for children between one to five years of age, recently graduated their first intake in grand style at their Oniru- Lekki auditorium.
‘The Director, Mrs. Judith Usiakpor, while speaking at the fifth year graduation of the school, reiterated the school’s commitment towards contributing selflessly in the role of moulding children cognitively and psychologically as well.
‘‘She also expressed her gratitude to all the pioneer parents who have come this far with them.”
A  lawyer and parent, Mrs Zulei Momodu, appreciated the Spring Lake School for the exemplary turnaround job they did for the kids.

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