Father Alia seeks partnership with TETFund to empower graduates

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Benue state governor, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Alia, has decried the high level of graduate unemployment in Nigeria and insisted that skill acquisition and entrepreneurship education remain critical towards tackling the menace. 

Father Alia said his administration would give education top priority in Benue state, therefore, sought partnership with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to boost the quality of tertiary education delivery in the state. 

He stated this Thursday in Abuja when he paid what he described as a solidarity visit to the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono, at the Fund’s Headquarters.

Barely eight days in office, Alia commended TETFund management for the huge intervention in public tertiary institutions in Benue state and the nation at large. 

The governor said what he had discovered as responsible for high rate of unemployment in Nigeria was that many degrees have been acquired by youth in the country but the “skills are not attached to those degrees”.

He argued that was one of the reasons both graduates and non graduates roam the streets across the nation. 

Alia stressed that his administration would go back to the drawing board in a bid to revitalise education in the state, lamenting that tertiary institutions in Benue state were known for quality and scholarship in the time past and emphasised that the lost glory would be restored. 

He said his desire was to promote skill acquisition at all levels of formal and informal education sector in his state, so as to make young people self-reliant and become employers of labour. 

“We are here on solidarity visit with my brother, the Executive Secretary of TETFund. I’m honored to be here having understood how much he has been doing, promoting education nationwide and improving on the teaching and learning infrastructure as well as making the educational wheel of the nation to run and running smoothly. 

“Benue state is also a beneficiary of the projects from you and the good people of the state have conveyed our appreciation to your establishment. I’m just 8 days old as Governor and I’m looking forward to partnering with your establishment in the collaborative efforts to move the education forward in our nation,” Alia said. 

Echono in his remark, described Alia as a man called to rescue Benue state from the quagmire and pledged to support his administration in the efforts possible within the laws of the Fund to revitalise tertiary education in Benue state. 

He informed Father Alia that as part of the parting gift of the immediate past President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Finance Act 2023 was endorsed and that has now increased the Education Tax, which is the primary source of revenue of TETFund to three per cent. 

Echono said TETFund is already intervening in about eight  to nine public tertiary institutions in Benue state, with massive infrastructure development and training of teachers, among  others, in both state-owned and Federal government-owned institutions.