The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has expressed hope that the annual allocation to the National Research Fund (NRF) will hit N10 billion in 2022.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Professor Suleiman Bogoro, said the agency’s Board of Trustees had recently approved N8.5 billion as 2021 allocation for NRF.
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Bogoro stated this at a virtual meeting on ‘Democratization of Higher Education in Nigeria through Open Access,’ co-hosted by TETFund and the Training Centre in Communication, Nairobi, as part of activities to mark International Open Access Week.
He said, following the agency’s proposal, the Board of Trustees’ had in 2019 approved N5 billion for NRF, which was raised to N7.5 billion in 2020 and N8.5 billion in 2021.
“Over the last two and half years now, we have raised funds available for research. They are two categories; institution-based and National Research Fund,” he said.
Bogoro said: “It used to be a kind of seed money. Seed money of N4 billion for eight years but from the year 2019 to last year and this year, we increased it to N5 billion annually.
“Last year we increased it from N5 billion to N7.5 billion and this year it is N8.5 billion and we are hoping in 2022 it will move to N10 billion.”
He said NRF is one of the major platforms put in place by the government through TETFund to support the academic community in research to achieve specific objectives, particularly in the area of science, technology and innovation.
While expressing the readiness of TETFund to always mainstream open access/science through massive support for Research and Development (R&D), Bogoro said the Fund had recently established 12 Centres of Excellence across the country.
He said the move was aimed at supporting cutting-edge research mainly in universities so as to provide solutions to various problems bedevilling the society as well as position Nigeria as a major player in the knowledge economy.
Bogoro, however, revealed that TETFund has developed a project impact tracking system to evaluate the correlation of its spendings on research and results so far achieved.
On his part, the Technical Adviser to the TETFund’s Executive Secretary, Dr Popoola Mustapha Ayodele, harped on the decolonisation of education research and technology in Africa.
“Our educational system is still colonised, we must do away with old traditions and adopt new paradigms…., the traditional practice of closed systems should be done away with,” Popoola said.
Also, the Director of Distance, Open and eLearning of the National Universities Commission (NUC), Odedina Kayode, lamented the problem of access in the Nigerian university system both in terms of materials and admission of students.
Odedina said while there are 201 universities in the country, only about 30 per cent of over a million candidates that apply for admission every year scale through the hurdles.