By Funmilayo Adeyemi, Abuja.
Gov. Charles Soludo of Anambra State has called for a strategic partnership with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) on the delivery of intervention projects in higher institutions in the state.
Soludo made the call during a visit to the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said that such collaboration would bring about a more robust impact with regard to TETFund intervention projects in the state.
“We have a big dream, a big agenda to partner with you and other critical stakeholders to ensure we achieve desired results when it comes to TETFUND projects.
“The Federal Government is a very critical player in this field of education; as we know, education is on the concurrent list. The federal and states work together.
“The only way we can make it work for ourselves is to work together through collaboration, coordination and cooperation.
“I will like us to work together in a whole lot of areas we are interested in. And in some years to come, we will be able to say with partnership with TETFund, we were able to deliver A, B, C, D projects,” Soludo said.
The governor commended TETFund for its various intervention projects across the country.
He said that the three state-owned tertiary institutions in the state — Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University; Anambra Polytechnic, Mgbakwu and College of Education, Nsugbe — were eager to welcome more intervention projects from TETFund.
Soludo, however, expressed concern over the growing number of tertiary institutions in the country, saying that government might find it difficult to adequately fund them in the future.
“With the tertiary institutions going the way they are now, there are still questions and issues we are not asking.
“At some point, we are going to ask whether or how the government will be able to fund or adequately fund the number or the plethora of institutions.
“But in the interim, before we get there, TETFund has been filling the gaps, in terms of infrastructure in our tertiary institutions,’’ the governor said.
Soludo said that TETFund had done a lot, in view of the limited resources available to it, compared to the massive needs of the higher education sector.
“Even if the Federal Government is to spend its entire capital budget on education, it will not be enough to address all the issues,” he added.
Responding, Echono said the Fund had continued to do a lot, both in terms of infrastructure and academic content development.
He said that TETFund projects were everywhere in tertiary institutions in Anambra, particularly in the Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, adding that the Fund would do more in the state-owned institutions.
“In Anambra, you will see a lot of our presence but I admit at the level of state institutions, we need to do more.
“TETFund has put in place mechanisms through specialised training to ensure Nigerian graduates are easily employable.
“The Fund has trained over 35,000 academic staff, with the centres of excellence churning out cutting-edge research to meet Nigeria’s developmental needs,” he said.
Echono said that in the last 11 years, 35,000 academic staff had been supported in Master’s and PhD. programmes, saying that a lot had been done in the research component of its intervention.
He said that the Fund was also working on the employability of graduates by linking the institutions with industries.