The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Tetfund says it is establishing Centres of Excellence across public universities to boost researches and development in Nigeria by the year 2020.
The fund said that six African countries have visited Nigeria in the last few months to study the model of the existing Africa Centres of Excellence in some Universities.
The Executive Secretary of Tetfund, Professor Elias Bogoro, made these known in Abuja while briefing Journalists on increasing demands to fund Private Universities .
Professor Bogoro clarified that private tertiary institutions in the country cannot be funded by the Nigerian Government, saying “they have only six per cent of the total students’ population while the public institutions have 94 per cent.”
The fund noted that although the number of private and public universities in the country is about the same, “there is justification for funding only public institutions due to the overwhelming students’ population, most of who are also from the less privileged.
“From 2020, the Fund will begin Tetfund Centres of Excellence. As of today, up to six African countries have come to study the model. At the end, if there are weaknesses noticed in the process, let us be informed about them and we are ready to take correction.”
Bogoro said that if there were weaknesses in Tetfund, the management welcomed criticisms and was ready to take correction.
According to him, “We have gone beyond the idea of not funding private universities. There is justification for government and ASUU for insisting that private institutions should not be funded. The numbers of private and public universities are about the same in the country, but not the students’ population”
“I have said before that public institutions have 94 per cent students while private is less than six per cent. So there is justification in our law that we are not funding private institutions. We are funding public institutions because that is where the majority of the students are and particularly, the children of the less privileged.
“On the allegation of unqualified contractors being used in universities, this is not true. Yes, we have gross challenges in some institutions,” Bogoro stated.
He further said; “There are those institutions we have sent outright queries from the monitoring and evaluation unit. We have undertaken a forensic audit. I have also sought the approval of the Board of Trustees to introduce independent monitoring. It is to demonstrate transparency.”