The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, has disclosed that plans have been concluded to begin reformation of tertiary institutions across the country and overhaul their curriculum, saying the Federal Government was determined to leverage on the transformation of public tertiary institutions to outlive the landscape of the education sector.
He added that to transform the country’s public tertiary institutions, deliberate emphasis would be put on science subjects, as was the current global trend.
The minister stated that the government has recently been approving more funds for priority content components like research, manuscript development, library development, and academic staff training and development.
Represented by the Pro-Chancellor, University of Benin, and Co-founder, Eko Hospital, Dr Sunny Kuku, Adamu gave the assurance at the third edition of Taxpayers’ Forum, organized by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) on Thursday, in Lagos. The programme was themed: “TETFund Intervention; Catalyst For Transforming Tertiary Education in Nigeria”.
According to him, TETFund has over the years contributed immensely to the advancement of tertiary education in Nigeria through the commitment of this respectable forum, using the two percent Education Tax (EDT) collection.
“It is no longer news that TetFund has become a model Nigerian intervention brand, with a preponderance of different intervention projects that cut across critical sectors of tertiary institutions,” Adamu said.
He added that in the last three decades, billions of naira had been realised as EDT, which had impacted tremendously in transforming and repositioning institutions in Nigeria. Hence, it did not come as a surprise, when in 2012, TETFund decided to appreciate its taxpayers for the first time ever and instituted the taxpayers’ forum,” Adamu said.
On his part, Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, said that research remained the most important aspect and instrument of advanced learning and innovation if society intended to make meaningful progress.
Bogoro said research had remained a special intervention line of the fund since it was introduced in 2009. “Despite efforts of my predecessors around research, given the level of growth in the country, I took the decision to take research to the next level in the country.
“Accordingly, in 2014, I recommended that the Board of Trustees should approve the establishment of the Department of Research and Development/Centers of Excellence in TetFund. It was thought that research without development, will not provide the growth that Nigeria direly needs as a nation,” Bogoro said.
He added that the intention to promote research and innovation in tertiary institutions, research institutions, and industry, as well as the establishment of centers of excellence across tertiary institutions, remained a priority.
“Within the fund, the national research fund was set up, N3 billion was provided for its take-off in 2011 and in 2015, another N1 billion was added. Our commitment and resolve to contribute in building a prosperous nation remains unshaken,” Bogoro said.
He added that today marked the third edition in the series of taxpayers’ forum that the TETFund had been organising, since its inception in 2011.
“The significance of regular interactions between TetFund, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and taxpayers across the country, cannot be over emphasised. We are here to appreciate the taxpayers in particular, for their patriotism and sacrifice in supporting us and in the payment of education tax respectively,” he said.
Also speaking, the chairman, TETFund Board of Trustees, Kashim Ibrahim-Imam, said that the taxpayers’ forum had always served as a platform to honor and identify individuals and companies that had made tremendous contributions to education.
Ibrahim-Imam said the individuals and companies, contributed to education through consistent payment of education tax. “TETFund has become synonymous with excellence. Currently, we have partnered with another Federal agency to energise at least, 25 institutions with electricity,” he said.
Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, said that TETFund had left indelible positive footprints and served as a catalyst for sustainable tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Ogundipe said that TETFund interventions had impacted positively on the infrastructural and human development of tertiary institutions over the years.
“Inconsistencies in education tax payments by companies have translated to low EDT collections. Available data in 2018, confirms that about 2,286,812 companies are registered in Nigeria, but only 104,624 have been paying EDT since the inception of the fund,” he said.