The newly appointed Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc. Sonny Echono, has said that the Nigerian education system requires massive investment to prepare it for global competitiveness.
Echono, who stated this on Monday in Abuja when he took over TETFund from Prof Sulieman Bogoro, said, “We must create symbiotic relationship between the industry and the tertiary institutions to ensure seamless development of manpower.”
The new TETFund boss, who was the immediate past Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, acknowledged that the government is facing serious economic challenges hence the need to efficiently utilise the available resources.
He said that TETFund played a major role in creating knowledge based economy so as to enable Nigeria meet her national demands.
He assured the fund’s commitment to research and fevelopment saying the seed fund for R&D in the agency’s 2022 budget would be more than the previous years.
He stressed that Nigeria must recognise the tertiary institutions as the hub of academic and excellence while efforts are increased on making Nigerian graduates more relevant as creators of wealth.
“We will initiate critical consultation with stakeholders especially the Academic Staff Union of Universities, the Non-academic staff and other unions including Committee of Vice Chancellors, NAAT, SSANU and others to get feedback from them to know how better to use judiciously the resources committed into the hands of TETFund.”
Echono acknowledged that the working conditions of university lecturers are challenging, saying, “we will address it but government is currently constrained.”
He appealed to the members of the ASUU to create opportunities for the government to address the issues in phases.
Speaking, the outgoing Executive Secretary, Prof. Bogoro, described the handing over as an exceptional transition.
He said, “We tried to uphold fidelity. We also tried our best to meet the expectations of the beneficiary institutions as expressed in the law and we operate within the law.
We tried to address a major challenge in the Nigerian niversity system which was weak research culture and we created a new standard.”
The handing over ceremony featured the symbolic exchange of notes and summaries of activities of TETFund between 2014 and 2016 as well as 2018-2022.