President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the establishment of the first set of 12 TETFund “centres of excellence”, two in each of the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.
The first set of the institutions, which will focus on research in science-based disciplines, will be hosted by federal universities.
The Director, Physical Infrastructure Development, TETfund, Buhari Mikailu, said in a statement that those in state universities, polytechnics and colleges of education will follow in subsequent years.
“The focus areas of the Centres of Excellence, in line with contemporary practice in the more competitive economies and technologies, are mainly in science-based disciplines,” he said.
“The approval, which came upon the recommendation of TETFund Board of Trustees (BOT) and endorsement of the Honourable Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, is to signify a major paradigm shift in favour of Research and Excellence in our Universities, but also demonstrate that Federal Government has decided to directly establish and fund Centres of Excellence besides the ones funded by the World Bank, being the African Centres of Excellence (ACE),” he said
He said details of the operations and guidelines for the inaugural TETFund Centres of Excellence will be issued by the Fund.
In a separate statement, the Director, Public Affairs, TETfund, Ngoba Briggs, said the organisation is also sponsoring simulation, research and training centres in Colleges of Medicine.
“The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, has directed, consequent to the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari, for the funding of six medical simulations, research and training facilities in Colleges of Medicine (one per geo-political zone) in the country through TETFund.”
She said the facilities should include the provision of Molecular Science Laboratories with capacity for testing and diagnosis of COVID-19, Lassa Fever, and related viral diseases.
“The Honourable Minister emphasized that besides ongoing research work in response to COVID-19 and similar diseases through the TETFund National Research Fund (NRF), the research community of the Federal Ministry of Education should undertake any other sundry contributions in support of the commendable efforts of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) in responding to the threat of COVID-19 in Nigeria,” she said.
According to her, the minister commended the initiatives of TETFund in providing a special research grant window towards treatment or vaccine against COVID-19.
“Additionally, he assured the Fund that the Federal government will continue to support relevant research aimed at addressing national challenges and needs,” she said.
The Tertiary Education Trust fund was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2011 to disburse, manage and monitor education tax to government-owned tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
TETFUND was formed as a product of the Education Tax Act of 1993. Prior to the establishment of the scheme in 2011, government-owned tertiary institutions complained of poor funding.
The scheme was designed to improve the management of funds disbursed to these institutions.