About 35, 000 scholars in public tertiary institutions have benefitted in the TETFund Scholarship for Academic Staff programme which commenced in 2008.
Acting Director of Academic Staff Training and Development, Abdullahi Imam, who stated this when the representatives of the TETFund scholars paid a courtesy visit to the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono in Abuja, said N185 billion have been expended for the project.
He explained that the project was established with the sole aim of training and up scaling the educational capacity of the academic staff of beneficiary institutions, adding that the project is the second in expenditure after infrastructural projects of the Fund.
Imam sought the Executive Secretary’s approval to have a TETFund Scholars Alumni, which he said would help identify areas of specialisation and pool them into a critical mass of knowledgeable workforce and change agents for the development of the nation.
He added that the Alumni, through its planned journals on issues like innovation and entrepreneurship, science, engineering and technology, art, humanities and social science would help to prevent or curtail intellectual flight.
“Next is the compilation of soft copies of their thesis in order to have a repository for the National Library/State. We are not only thinking of the database, we want to have a repository of their thesis so that it would pass to the libraries for reference purposes,” he said.
While speaking also on the plans to showcase the capacities, competence and the scholars by developing a database for the Alumni, Imam noted that the scholars would serve, as a voluntary advisory house on national research needs, institutional collaboration and industry partnership.
Speaking on the reason for their visit, one of the scholars, Prof. Kinsley Nwozor stated that they were there to appreciate the Fund for standing by them through out the period of their studies, adding that though some of them were tempted to stay back after their education, they have decided to come back to the nation to prove their mettle and showcase to the world that the dream of TETFund was a well-thought intention.
“There is no national agency that has done what TETfund is doing in Nigeria. An investment of N185 billion is not a chicken change. It is time for us to look at innovative ways of making TETfund stand out. You have done so much with gigantic infrastructures in universities. We also believe that gigantic structures don’t make gigantic universities, but gigantic minds. We are TETfund ambassadors whenever we are and with you by our side, there is nothing we cannot achieve,” he said.
He added that the alumni would not be a parasite to TETFund but a source of revenue adding that they wanted to translate their knowledge to national wealth.
Responding, the Executive Secretary promised to support the scholars wherever they needed help, adding the first point would be to develop a database that would have all the names of the beneficiaries and their areas of specialisation.
“We want to count our blessings even beyond the scholars. You are only a vessel. You are a vehicle through which we achieve our primary aim of improving the quality of teaching and learning in the higher institutions and also promoting research and making the findings of those research touch the lives of our people; translating those research and innovations so that people can consume them, improve their lives and generate income from them,” he said.