Chidimma UCHEGBU, Abuja
Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State has called for a strategic partnership with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in the delivery of intervention projects in higher education institutions in the state.
Soludo, who made the call during a courtesy visit on the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono, on Tuesday in Abuja, said such collaboration would ensure TETFund’s projects in the state bring about more robust impact.
“We have a big dream, a big agenda to partner with you and other critical stakeholders; the Federal Government is very critical player in this field. Education we know is on the concurrent – the federal and state work together. The only way we can make it work for ourselves is to work together through collaboration, coordination and cooperation, and coincidentally the resource envelope of the federation is disproportionate here in Abuja.
“I will like us to work together in a whole lot of areas we are interested in and in some years to come, we will be able to say with partnership with TETFund we were able to deliver ABCD, that here are the impacts. Impact measurement is very important,” the governor said.
Speaking further, Soludo commended TETFund for its various intervention projects across the country, adding that the three state-owned tertiary institutions in the state; Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, University, Anambra Polytechnic, Mgbakwu and College of Education, Nsugbe, are eager to welcome more of the Fund’s intervention projects.
The governor, however, expressed concern over the growing number of tertiary institutions in the country, saying government might find it difficult to adequately fund them in the future.
“With the tertiary institutions going the way they are now, there are still questions, still issues, we are not asking those questions but at some point we are going to ask whether or how the government will be able to fund or adequately fund the number or the plethora of institutions or the mechanism of our delivery, especially with the brick and mortar system that we have, there will be questions.
“But in the interim, before we get there, TETFund has been filling the gap in terms of infrastructure in our tertiary institutions. As you go from one higher institution to the other, (you see them) you have a way of branding them – the projects”.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria’s governor, who said TETFund has done a lot in view of the limited resources available to it compared to the massive needs of the higher education sector, said “even if the Federal Government is to spend its entire capital budget on education it will not be enough to address all the issues .”
Responding, Arc. Echono, said the Fund has continued to do a lot both in infrastructure and academic content development.
He noted that ETFund projects are everywhere in tertiary institutions in Anambra State, especially in Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, said the Fund would do more in the state-owned institutions.
“In Anambra, you will see a lot of our presence, but I admit at the level of state institutions we need to do more,” Echono said.
While saying TETFUND has put in place mechanisms through specialised training to ensure Nigerian graduates are easily employable, Echono said the Fund has trained over 35,000 academic staff, adding that its Centres of Excellence are also churning out cutting-edge research to meet Nigeria’s developmental needs.
“In the last 11 years, 35,000 academic staff has been trained in Master’s and PhDs, we have also done a lot in research component of our intervention. We are also working on the employability of our graduates by linking our institutions with industries,” he said.