Academics, administrators reject amendment of Tertiary Education Fund Act

Minister Of Education, Ruqayyatu Rufa'I

Academics and administrators all rejected the proposed amendments.

Stakeholders in the education sector in Abuja on Tuesday rejected a bill to amend the Tertiary Institutions Trust Fund, TETFund.

The bill seeks to expressly provide for the inclusion of the Nigerian Law School and the Federal Colleges of Agricultural research institutions as beneficiaries of the fund.

It further seeks to have the Director-General, Nigerian Law School on the board of the Fund.

The stakeholders’ separately rejected the proposal at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Education.

In a presentation, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, ASUU, Nasir Isa, said the Nigerian law school was a professional institution and not a tertiary institution.

According to him, the TETFund is set up for intervention purposes and not outright funding.

He said that it was quite obvious that the proposers had wrongly classified the law school and colleges of agriculture as tertiary institutions.

“They are clearly not tertiary institutions,” Mr. Isa said. “Rather, they are identified as professional certification bodies (PCBs) or organisations set up to give training in practical skills for those who have gone through education in tertiary institutions,” he said.

Aliyu Naiya, the Acting Executive Secretary of TETFund, noted that the fund had already been over-stretched and should not be subjected to additional burden.

He said the fund was barely one year old and should be given time, adding that the National Assembly should discourage any attempt to tamper with the Act establishing it.

Mr. Naiya said when the TETFund Act took effect in 2011, the allocations to tertiary institutions for regular interventions had moved from N303 million for each university in 2010 to N598 million in 2011.

The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission, Julius Okojie, said the amendment was not desirable as it would create more problems for TETFund.

Other bodies that spoke against the bill were the Committee of Provosts and the Coalition of Save Nigeria Education, a non-governmental organisation.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Tambuwal, while declaring the public hearing open, enjoined stakeholders and participants to look at the proposed bills dispassionately.

Mr. Tambuwal was represented by Ishaka Bawa (PDP- Taraba), the Chief Whip of the House, at the occasion.

In a remark, the Acting Chairman of the Committee, Rose Oko (PDP- Cross River), reminded participants that TETFund was set up to intervene in public tertiary institutions.

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