COVID-19: TETFund, Bogoro and the quest for research institutions


The essence of functional education is societal transformation through problem solving research initiatives. It was in pursuance of this objective that the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) was established in Nigeria. Unlike in the past, the delivery on this mandate by TETFUND has however accelerated or taken a pragmatic dimension since Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro was appointed to head the organisation.
The 1903 and 1911 first female recipient of Nobel Prize for contribution to Physics and Chemistry, Marie Curie, in a famous quote said, “Nothing in life is to be feared; it is to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”


 Problems like the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic ravaging the entire globe will always be part of human existence. The latest situation in the country necessitates the need for continuous research. In this regard, TETFund under its current executive secretary, Bogoro, had before the outbreak of the pandemic set up Education Support Services to encourage research. 
More than anytime in modern history, the need to intensify research has increased because solutions must be sought for coronavirus. Madagascar, for instance, claimed to have secured the cure for COVID-19, using its local research institutions. That is why TETFUND’s Educational Research Development programmes initiated by Bogoro is commendable.  
The support for research will accelerate Nigeria’s quest to match the rest of the world in educational advancement. Prof Bogoro is breathing life into the intention of the federal government which in 2004 established the Tertiary Education Trust Fund saddled with the responsibility of imposing, managing and disbursing the funds to public tertiary institutions in Nigeria to conduct research.


Some of the areas of TETFUND Intervention focus on applied researches that address areas of national concern, namely, National Security, National Integration and Peace Studies, Education and Training, Economic Development, Agriculture, Food Security, and Technology Processes, Power and Energy, ICT and Telecommunication, Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation, Environment issues, etc.The institution-based research is aimed at research capacity building in Tertiary Education Institutions (TEIs). It focuses on the basic research in all fields of academic endeavour. IBR is aimed at resuscitating research activities in the nation’s tertiary institutions in Nigeria.


Most pragmatically, since the reappointment of Prof Suleiman Elias Bogoro on the April 21, 2019, by President Muhammadu Buhari, the good works of TETFund in the area or research has been redoubled to the ‘next level’. 
TEfund today is celebrating the impact and improved ranking of Nigerian higher institutions internationally because of four years of intensive interventionist approach in the nation’s tertiary institutions. A few examples will be highlighted in this article for want of space.
One of his major areas of concentration is programmes that seek to advance the nation’s tertiary institutions in conduct of research, innovation and development activities. During his first stint, he floated the Department of Research and Development (R&D) at the TETFUND headquarters with the duty of stimulating, supervising and coordinating research and development activities in the public tertiary institutions. 
Some analysts have averred that if the TETFund had an executive secretary like Bogoro from inception, the quest for potent vaccine to combat COVID-19 would not have an issue for Nigeria. In this regard, President Buhari and the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, deserve kudos for appointing such a resource and erudite scholar to head TETFund.

There has been a lot of jubilation and commendation following the achievements of Professor Bogoro. And so far, there is no gainsaying the fact that from a state of doldrums, stagnation and loss of focus that the TETFUND went through in the two years that he was away, the agency is once more back on track and working.   In war torn North East, for instance, in his first three three years, TETfund as part of its intervention at the Modibbo Adamu University of Technology has constructed Business and Science Education buildings 2009 – 2012, construction of 750 seater with LNO integrated studios for the school of Agricultural Technology 2013, TETFUND special project and the construction of Business and Science Education Buildings 2009-2012 normal project. 

 The Federal Polytechnic, Mubi through TETfund also got a 250 seating capacity twin lecture theatre and lecture room furniture, through the 2010 TETfund intervention as well as offices and lecture classrooms. Adamawa State University, Mubi got the TETfund Information and Communication Technology building 2007/2008 (merged) normal intervention, Idris Alooma Polytechnic, Geidam in Yobe State was rewarded with the construction of Electrical Engineering department 2012 TETfund normal intervention. The Abubakar Tafawa Balewa (ATBU)- Bauchi through TETfund got hostels renovated, procurement of office equipment and furniture. There were also construction of workshop and laboratory, construction and furnishing of academic staff office complex, procurement of hospital equipment and vehicles among others. 

Taraba State University has also maximally benefitted from TETfund projects. Federal University Wukari, Taraba State is not left out, as TETfund’s intervention see to the construction of 2 modern male and female hostels and construction of office building, accommodation for both faculties of Pure and Applied Sciences, Humanities, Management and that of Social Sciences.
At Gombe State University, the construction of students’ hostel is 100 percent completed. The ongoing projects for the College of Medical Sciences handled by TETfund are at their advanced stages, that is, research laboratories, theatre, hostels and skills acquisition laboratories. It is not out place that the chairman of the Governing Council Gombe State University, Prof Idris Mohammed, lauded the efforts of TETfund under Bogoro for the gesture that was rendered to the university in ensuring sustainability in the education sector.

 Also, Senator Binta Mashi the then chairperson Senate Committee on TETfund congratulated TETfund for winning many awards during the 2015 service delivery award among which is the award for the best intervention agency in Nigeria in 2014/2015, decided by the transparent voting of Nigerians and witnessed by international and development partners.
Ibrahim is director of communication and strategic planning of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC).

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