The Abdullahi Bichi Baffa-led TETFund is an intervention agency responsible for administering and disbursing of funds to tertiary institutions in the country.
A lecturer at Skyline University Nigeria, Dr. Azeez Sesan Akinwumi, made the call during the varsity’s quarterly faculty seminar held at its campus on Zaria Road, Kano.
He implored the agency to be more sincere in its mandate by ensuring fairness and equity in its support for Nigerian universities irrespective of ownership structure.
Speaking on a topic: “ TETFund and Research Mandate in Nigerian Universities,” Akinwumi advised the agency to revisit the policies which favoured public varsities and placed a huge burden on their private counterparts.
He said: There 165 universities in Nigeria. Breaking down this figure, we have 75 private universities, 43 federal universities and 47 state-sponsored varsities. Looking at this figure, we can all see that there are more private universities in Nigeria and both the National Universities Commission (NUC) and TETFund should look beyond the box and re-appraise the policies which have so far excluded private universities in government’s support Programmemes.”
He faulted TETFund’s argument on its refusal to provide financial support to private universities, saying the agency’s claim that it does not assist private varsities because owners of the institutions charge exorbitant fees, is unacceptable.
Akinwumi added: “ The argument is not appropriate considering the cost implication of running a university. In this context, we are looking at the capital expenditure which includes infrastructural facilities such as a library, laboratory, classrooms and others. The second is the recurrent expenditure which covers staff salary, maintenance, and staff developmental Programmemes such as attendance and participation in conferences and seminars. We all know that TETFund source of funding is the company tax where all companies in Nigeria including the private universities contribute 2 per cent of their earnings to support the agency’s mandate in the nation’s tertiary education sector. So denying the private varsities of TeTFund support is like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
“ TETFund has no right whatsoever to deny private universities of its support bearing in mind that academic staff in private and public universities undergo the same process of promotion through the parameters of conference attendance and others. Graduates of public and private universities also compete in the same labour market. There is no disparity in all that I have mentioned. So the agency should reconsider its policies on support Programmemes to universities in the country.”
On areas of support for private universities, the varsity don urged TETFund to assist the institutions in the area of book development, research grant, training and development, academic manuscripts development, academic research journal, institution-based research and curriculum and content Programmeme development.
He also implored vice chancellors of private universities to ensure inclusion of their academic staff in TETFund support Programmemes through dialogue with NUC and National Assembly.