President Muhammadu Buhari has approved an increase of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, National Research Fund, NRF, to N7.5 billion for the year 2020 from an initial N3 billion.
Executive Secretary of TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, who disclosed this at the 2020 TETFund Board of Trustees, BoT, Retreat in Abuja, said the latest approval makes the agency the largest holder of research grants in Nigeria.
Bogoro further disclosed that Buhari also approved the establishment of six medical simulation research and clinical training facilities in six colleges of medicine in each geopolitical zone within the year.
He noted that the approval is an opportunity for TETFund to provide twelve Covid-19 and related infectious disease molecular laboratories, two in each geopolitical zone, making the fund the highest single provider of Covid-19 test centres in Nigeria.
He also disclosed that the BoT of TETFund approved over N200 million, to sponsor some Covid-19 research proposals mainly from universities and NAFDAC.
“In addition, the BOT also endorsed and was subsequently approved by the President, that six Medical Simulation Research and Clinical Training facilities in six Colleges of Medicine (one in each geopolitical zone) are to be established this year.
“Individually, this provided an opportunity for twelve COVID-19 and related infectious disease Molecular Laboratories to be provided (two in each geopolitical zone), thus making TETFund the highest single provider of COVID-19 test Centres in Nigeria.
“TheBOT also approved that TETFund sponsors some COVID-19 Research proposals to the tune of over N200 million, mainly from Universities and NAFDAC, this being one of the reasons TETFund has recently been made the Secretariat for the Nigeria Covid-19 Research Consortium R&D,” he said.
While laying out the agenda of the fund, the TETFund boss noted that approval has been made from the 2020 budget for TETFund to aggressively commit funds to reverse the embarrassing situation of hostel accommodation in tertiary institutions and make the learning environment more attractive for local and foreign students.
According to him, only 15 per cent of Nigerian students were living in hostel accommodation in their institutions.
He said the BoT has also directed Management of the agency to make recommendations towards migration to e-learning consistent with global best practice.