Academic Researchers Demand Amendment of TETFUND ActLatest News, News Monday, June 6th, 2016
Academic researchers in Nigeria under the aegis of Academic Staff Union of Research Institutions (ASURI), on Monday, stormed the National Assembly in Abuja, protesting against the exclusion of Colleges of Agriculture and other research institutions in the country as beneficiaries of research funds by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND).
The researchers who carried placards with various inscriptions lamented that all the Colleges of Agriculture and Research Institutions in the country put together have not received the budgetary capital allocation that a university or polytechnic receives from same TetFund in a year.
Some of the placards read, “Universities are saturated with TetFund while Colleges of Agriculture are dying; TetFund act now,”To change Nigeria, fund research now,” No research fund, no development, no future” and “Amend TetFund Act now; 70% of Nigerians are farmers yet Colleges of Agric are denied funding.”
Speaking on behalf of the lecturers, Secretary-General of ASURI, Dr. Theophilus Ndubuaku, said the union was in support of the move by the House of Representatives to amend the TETFUND Act to expressly provide that Colleges of Agriculture and research institutions benefit from the fund.
He lamented that whereas TETFUND was established specifically for rehabilitation, restoration and consolidation of tertiary education in the country, Colleges of Agriculture were unfortunately not included among tertiary institutions that TetFund was supposed to fund.
Ndubuaku stated that whereas the lecturers were not against the funding of tertiary institutions, they strongly feel that justice can only be seen to be done if resources are equitably distributed.
He expressed disappointment that former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration could not make good its promise to run the economy based on science and technology, just like the other governments before it.
He said, “It is apt to mention that for now, most of the technologies generated in research institutes are largely funded by the researchers with their personal resources because if they do not conduct research, publish and sponsor their training for higher degrees, they will stagnate and perish, in otherwords they will not receive promotion
“Given this scenario, the Nigerian research-institute based researchers are compelled to use their personal resources to conduct research and publish it
“Nigeria is endowed with an array of research and development infrastructure that cover almost all sectors of human endeavour. It is an indisputable statement of fact that the reason why Nigeria has remained under-developed is because past leaders have not had the political will to adequately fund the many research and development institutions
“We implore the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), as a major stakeholder in nation-building not to denigrate the complementary roles of other institutions in the educational sector especially the research institutions and colleges of agriculture where the academic staff are holders of higher research degrees and that are equivalent to those of the universities
“Our message to the House of Representatives is to include research institutions and colleges of agriculture in funding by TetFund, otherwise the diversification programme of this government will be defeated
“This is a country where we must diversify and this is the time we should ask why Nigeria remains under-developed and this is because previous governments refused to fund research
“Nigeria is one of the most-endowed countries but political will to drive research is not there.
“Now, we talk about tomato disease and I am not sure agric research institutions have been consulted and even if they, there is no infrastructure for research because of the way research has collapsed. We are not prepared for anything; we are just depending on God.”
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