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)
IAUE To Showcase ICT To The World -Ekpete
In a bid to compete favourably in information technology with other members of the international community, the Computer Science Department, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education (IAUE), recently organised a 3-day programme organised at the University main Auditorium in Port Harcourt, to showcase the progress and achievements recorded in the Computer Science Department to the international community.
Speaking in an interview with The Tide correspondent, the Dean, Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences, IAUE, Professor Ozioma Ekpete stated that the Computer Science department in IAUE intends to showcase her skills and talents to the larger society.
Prof Ekpete said that today everyone is struggling to meet up with the 21st Century challenges, noting that the world at large is talking about Information Technology (IT) as such IAUE is now IT based, ready to compete favourably with their counterparts across the globe.
“We have so many students in the Computer Science Department and would not want the knowledge they have garnered to end only in paper and chalk, and that is why we are ready to showcase these students to the world that they have made the University proud by going digital and ready to compete favourably with their counterparts across the globe.
“All these are made possible because of the efforts of the Vice Chancellor and his management team to put in place a beautiful computer laboratory edifice that has contributed heavily to their knowledge as they sit and learn new ideas, innovations, skills, among others”.
The keynote speaker, President, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Professor Adesina Sodiya stated that NCS is really concerned about development of Information Communication Technology in Nigeria as such would do all it can to ensure everyone, especially students embraced the digital age.
Prof Sodiya said Nigeria must take up the opportunity to own new innovations to boost the world economy, while stressing on the need for governments at all levels in Nigeria to put all machineries in place to ensure citizens embrace the ICT development in their various states.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
Coding Skills Make Children Globally Relevant
The Olusegun Coding Class has said coding skills will make children to be globally competitive.
Co-Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, SR IPD Logistics Company, Mr Olusegun Idowu, said this during the graduation ceremony of 150 students who participated in the 10-day Olusegun Coding 2.0 robotics school held at Obalende Local Council Development Area in Lagos State.
The participants were school children trained in various computer skills, including web development, robotics, game development, graphics design, scratch programme, artificial intelligence, and computer coding.
The training was held in collaboration with Fosters Private Schools, Lagos.
Idowu encouraged the participants to be dedicated to the various skills they learned.
He said, “The coding initiative is a means of using education to reduce poverty, and unemployment because when the children have these skills, it will enable them to be competitive globally. They will have the skills to work remotely against crime and that’s the essence of Olusegun Coding Class.”
“In the first edition last year, we had about 120 children who participated and the impact was enormous. Today, the winner of last year’s edition was here and expressed himself confidently on his knowledge of website development, robotics, and AI.
“The government needs to introduce and start teaching coding in public schools. They also need to train public school teachers in Information Technology so that they will be able to teach their learners.”
Director, Fosters Private Schools, Lagos, Mr Patrick Foster, revealed that over 500 children applied for the training but 150 qualified for the entrance examination.
Deputy Governor of Lagos State Obafemi Hamzat, who was represented by Mr Wasiu Jimoh, added, “Technology is the future and the children are the future. This is an environment where the ‘future meets the future.’ Although two weeks cannot be enough to learn these skills, but it is more than enough to stimulate your interest in this very dynamic world that holds a lot of benefits.”
RSU Management Suspends Students Union Week Activities …As Fresh Student Dies During Jeans Carnival
The Management of Rivers State University (RSU) has ordered the immediate suspension of the 2023 Student Union Government (SUG) week-long activities following the death of a student during the Jean Carnival.
A statement signed by the RSU Registrar, Dr Sydney Enyindah, and made available to The Tide in Port Harcourt, confirmed the suspension of the other activities to mark the students’ week.
According to the statement, “Following the unfortunate and sad incident which occurred during the ‘Jeans Carnival,’ on Tuesday, 5th September 2023, resulting in the death of a student, the Management of the University has directed the immediate suspension of the remaining activities of the Student Union Week.”
An eyewitness who pleaded for anonymity said the student was sitting on the window of a moving vehicle during the Jeans Carnival before he lost balance and fell off.
He was immediately rescheduled to the hospital, but died later due to severe injuries.
Meanwhile, the parents of the deceased fresh student said they suspect foul play, and called on the university authority to carry out a thorough investigation to ascertain the true cause of their son’s death.
In a related development, the SUG on its social media handle has frowned at the sudden suspension of the Students’ Week, saying that the suspension was unnecessary.
The Tide gathered that the SUG did not take into considerations the precautionary safety measures not to have allowed the deceased to sit on the window of a moving vehicle.
By: Susan Serekara-Nwikhana
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