The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has commenced a process of digitizing theses and projects in the nation’s tertiary institutions as a means of checking plagiarism.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, made this known at a workshop on thesis digitization project for beneficiary institutions on Wednesday in Abuja.
He said: “We want to dematerialise and electronic theses and projects by starting with thesis at PhD and master’s levels across our beneficiary institutions and we hope we extend it to the private institutions.
“The idea is simple, the world has gone digital. We cannot continue to operate analogue. We know that a number of materials from theses at postgraduate level and even undergraduate have literally disappeared.
“Where there are fire incidents, physical papers are burnt and the theses gone. But if we are able to dematerialise them and they are stored in different forms in different repositories, it will be easier to access and the protection of the materials is guaranteed.
“It will also assist us in checking plagiarism. That is a major benefit of digitalisation. We want to avoid and discourage, and indeed stop plagiarism by researchers at any level.”
While insisting that the decision of TETFund to fund digitalization of thesis would also shore up ranking of universities and other tertiary institutions in the country, Bogoro expressed serious concern on the issue of plagiarism in higher institutions.
“If you want to reproduce the outcome of a particular work and you want to claim it. You know that it is unacceptable and a criminal act, even though you are a professor, you can lose your title as a professor, if it is confirmed you plagiarized,” the TETFund boss posited.
Speaking further, Bogoro said the workshop was to bring together Librarians, Directors of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Desk Officers to address key issues on collective academic research output by bringing ICT and digitization to bear.
“With the unprecedented backing of our President, Muhammadu Buhari, and commitment of our Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu’s, as well as synergy with partners, such as the National Universities Commission (NUC), National Council for Colleges of Education (NCCE) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), the paradigm shift agenda of the Fund has resulted in the elevation of R&D and innovation to the top of the national discourse, but this discourse must be followed with concrete action.
“Today, we have commenced the first of several physical sensitization events on the digitization of thesis for beneficiary institutions to seed our very own National Research Repository, contain academic scholarly works produced by our students, staff, and eventually the entire academic community at large,” the TETFund boss said.
Bogoro, who expressed delight at the prospects of the project, said “digitizing our academic research output will lead to increased access and innovation, consequently accelerating the journey between research and commercial application; and this effort is critical to secure the contributions of our fledgling research base to productivity, growth, and social benefits.”
In a presentation, the Director of Education Support Service of TETFund, Mustapha Gotala, said the digitisation project would reposition Nigerian tertiary education institutions for better performance.
Represented by his deputy, Kolapo Popoola, Gotala said the funding for thesis digitisation would be sourced from TETFund’s intervention in library development for each of the beneficiary institutions as contained in their allocation letters.