The Tertiary Education Trust Fund(TETFUND) has sealed a deal with the American government to strengthen its scholarship programme for academic staff of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Parties to the deal are expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) anytime soon, a source at the agency has disclosed to our reporter in Abuja.
Recall that the Fulbright Programme is sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, under world-wide policy guidelines established by the Fulbright Board.
Under the new agreement, academic staff of Nigerian universities would enjoy support from both the TETFund and US Government to undertake their Masters and PhD programmes in the US at a cost to be shared.
Beyond this, TETFund scholars who are undertaking their PhD’s in science-related fields in Nigeria could also benefit by being jointly sponsored by the Fund and the US Government to undertake their Benchwork in Universities and Research Centers or Institutes in the United States.
The partnership is an initiative of the Executive Secretary, Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro, following his reappointed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
The information came to the fore, when the Cultural Affairs Officer of the United States in Nigeria, Mr. Sterling Tiller paid a courtesy visit on the intervention agency.
Tilley who was accompanied to the Fund by Miss Bella Anne Ndubuisi, the Cultural Affairs Specialist of the Embassy, noted that they decided on the visit to strengthen the already existing relationship between the United States Embassy and the Fund through partnership aimed at building capacity of Academics in Nigerian Universities.
According to Tilley, the process which was started in 2015 prior to the exit of Bogoro as Executive Secretary needed to be reinvigorated to justify the confidence the US Government has on the Fund as one of the foremost Agencies of Government in Nigeria.
An elated Bogoro described the visit and reintroduction of the programme as apt, adding that it would increase the number of participants seeking to further their studies at the Masters and PhD levels as well as those desirous of undertaking their Bench work in America’s Universities or Research Institutes/Centers.
He noted that the Fund would leverage on the scheme to expand its scholarship programme to accommodate the increasing number of Academic staff yearning for opportunities for further studies.
His words, “l assure you of readiness of the Fund for such partnership and we would facilitate arrangements to ensure it is concretized within the shortest possible time.
“It is my belief that the US Government wants to partner with TETFund through its Fulbright Programme because of the credible Scholarship Programme the Fund runs.
“We are aware that scholars on this partnership will enjoy the full status of both TETFund and Fulbright Scholars and other opportunities available after the completion of their programmes”.