The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, has emphasized the need for a new sustainable funding model for tertiary education in Nigeria as a means of curbing the incessant industrial actions by various staff unions in the nation’s government tertiary institutions that have been prevalent in the last few decades.
Executive Secretary, TETFund, Sonny Echono, made the call in his address on “Sustainable Funding of Tertiary Education in Nigeria” at the occasion of the 60th-anniversary celebrations of the National Universities Commission, NUC. His words: “A new model of sustainable funding for tertiary education in Nigeria is needed. There are three fundamental areas that need to be addressed.
“The first is the government funding, which is currently below the global average and needs to be increased and deployed in a more transparent manner and better managed. An increase in Education Tax to three percent will address this imperative.
“The second is the University curricula. It needs a revamp to produce graduates who are better suited to the realities of the national economy, which is an economy that cannot offer more formal employment at present, but rather needs job creators. Faithful implementation of the Triple-Helix-Model of government, academic and industry collaboration will upscale private sector contribution and demands, and ultimately deliver benefits to all.
“The third is for the nation’s universities to generate their income to complement government funding. Our universities should be encouraged and supported to seek additional revenue sources by developing a range of pathways and mechanisms, including ventures related to their core business of education delivery, research and services such as clinical medical facilities, agribusiness and consultancy services that would be self-financing to generate a surplus to the institution and similar initiatives.”
Recalling many recommendations, the TETFund boss said: “Government should allow full implementation of the 2004 Universities Miscellaneous (Autonomy) Act, which empowers University Councils to take full charge of their operations and development; limit its role to the overall policy framework, regulation and the creation/strengthening of institutions such as NUC, TETFund, Education Bank, Federal Scholarship Board and a Students Loans Board to address the multifaceted challenges of education; Continue to provide scholarship and bursary for exceptionally gifted scholars and verifiable indigent students based on income levels of parents and other discernable criteria.”