Education and research are engines of national development and economic growth. It is therefore necessary that there should be continuous synergy among all the various ministries in the country.
Buttressing this realization in an exclusive interview with The Chronicle of Education, a former Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Professor Suleiman Bogoro, has called for steadfast collaboration among the nation’s ministries, especially those of Science and Technology, Education, Health, Agriculture, Environment, Petroleum, and Solid Minerals.
According to Professor Bogoro, this is the only way for Nigeria to make rapid and sustainable progress in research and development.
Professor Bogoro emphasized that the days when agencies and sectoral operators lived as islands were long gone, adding that ministries should not operate in isolation but be complementary partners to ensure national growth.
Stressing the need for innovation and creativity in Nigerian universities, the scholar opined that as long as Nigerian academics publish solely for promotion while product development is relegated or non-existent, tertiary institutions will continue to be ranked low.
“The Creation of R and D Centers of Excellence Department during my tenure as Executive Secretary of TETFUND was aimed at deepening research beyond theoretical findings and publications by lecturers, and to also create the platform for interphase between researchers and the Industry”.
“Hence, researchers must always engage in quality research that would positively contribute to the growth of the nation.”
On the need for TETFund to fund research in private universities, Professor Bogoro is of the opinion that although the TETFund law excludes private tertiary institutions from accessing the fund, there is nothing that stops public universities from partnering with private universities through research, as such partnerships would enable every researcher to benefit from TETFUND. To continually augment the scarce resources available to universities, Professor Bogoro advised that “… the university system must always recruit leaders and managers with capacity to attract grants and aids through innovative measures” adding that “ … institutional heads must prevent cases of diversions and corrupt practices and “ensure funds are transparently, promptly and judiciously utilized”. He recommended that “We must beam our light on the mismanagement of the meagre allocated funds to tertiary institutions.”