The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Mahmood Yakubu on Wednesday said that funding is not the main cause of failure of the Nigeria’s education sector.
Mr Yakubu disclosed this while giving an update on the state of tertiary education in Nigeria in a stakeholder meeting held in Abuja.
He said the absence of prioritized strategic plan and vision for available education funds is the reason why many tertiary institutions have been on a decline despite sufficient funding.
Mr Yakubu said under Federal Government’s special high impact project since 2009, N3 billion is given to selected universities and 1 billion to polytechnics and colleges of education annually but many institutions fail to prioritize projects and invest progressively.
“The major problem is not funding,” he said.
He said that “funding is a facilitator and you can facilitate the wrong priorities. You can collect money and fence the campus and your lecture halls are empty and you have no good laboratories and the NUC will not accredit you.”
Statistics show that Nigeria does not feature in the top 500 universities around the world though recently eight Nigerian universities were listed among the top 50 in Africa standing at number 17.
Tertiary education in Nigeria has been on a downward trend over the years despite incessant call for transformation in the education sector. But giving an update on on-going projects in that sector, Mr Yakubu said misuse of available funds and resources is the major problem.
About N395 million has been awarded to universities over the last three years for developmental projects while N240 million have been expended on staff training for each tertiary institution in the same period based on equality. The Executive Secretary said these efforts only yield as much benefit as each university management would permit.
“Two years after we have given the University, polytechnics and colleges monies for staff training, many of them do not access. I had to go to Calabar to speak to the National executive council of ASUU and gave them the documents. They had to mobilise their branches, today all the universities have accessed,” Mr Yakubu said.
“Must we wait for pressure before we do what is right,” he asked.
Other projects which the tertiary education trust fund is currently tackling include setting up academic publishing houses in seven Universities across the geo-political zones to encourage undergraduate works, funding of academic research and encouraging Universities to delve into core areas of specialization.
These are few ways which the fund hopes to improve the transformation of the sector despite the many challenges.