A transformative wave is sweeping through higher education, and at its forefront is the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) funding surge-a true game-changer for tertiary institutions.
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, a few days ago approved the sum of N683,429,268 billion as the 2024 Intervention Funds for public tertiary education institutions in the country which is the highest in the history of the Fund.
However, in the realm of academic advancement, TETFund’s funding surge has emerged as the pivotal force rewriting the narrative for tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
Stakeholders have therefore, lauded the significant increase in TETfund funding, which according to them marks a transformative shift for tertiary institutions, propelling them into a new era of enhanced resources and opportunities.
This surge not only addresses critical infrastructure needs but also fosters a conducive environment for academic excellence, research advancements, and overall growth, positioning these institutions at the forefront of educational innovation and societal development.
The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Sonny Echono, had, during the Fund’s Strategic planning meeting with heads of beneficiary institutions in Abuja said from the total, 90.75 % is budgeted for direct disbursement and 8.94 % for some designated special projects. A stabilization of 2.27 % is allowed to enable the Fund to respond to emerging issues.
He also disclosed that each University shall get, for the Year 2024 intervention cycle, the total sum of N1,906,944,930.00, each Polytechnic N1,165,355,235.00 while each College of Education shall get N1,398,426,282.00.
LEADERSHIP report that this year’s intervention witnessed a boost as compared to last year where over N320 billion was disbursed.
Recall that the 2023 intervention cycle saw each university receiving N1,154,732,133.00; Polytechnic – N699,344,867.00, while each College of Education got N800,862,602.
Echono also said the meeting was an avenue to receive feedback and evaluate the performance of our intervention lines as experience has shown that such interaction between the Fund and our beneficiary institutions allows the sharing of ideas and has indeed helped to stimulate debates on how best we can improve the Fund’s intervention programmes.
“I am pleased to inform you that Mr. President has approved the Year 2024 disbursement guidelines in the total sum of N683,429,268, 402.64. From this total, 90.75% is budgeted for direct disbursement and 8.94% for some designated special projects. A stabilization of 2.27% is allowed to enable the Fund to respond to emerging issues.
“This is inclusive of the difference between actual collections and the projections made for November and December 2023 collections as requested and approved by Mr. President.
“Based on this approval, each University shall get, for the Year 2024 intervention cycle, the total sum of N1,906,944,930.00. This comprises N1,656,944,930.00 as annual direct disbursement and 250 Million as zonal intervention.
“Similarly, each Polytechnic shall get N1,165,355,235.00 comprising of N1,015,355,235.00 as annual direct disbursement and N150million as zonal intervention, while each College of Education shall get N1,398,426,282.00 comprising of N1,248,426,282.00 as annual direct disbursement and N150 Million as zonal intervention.
“It is pertinent to note that this represents a very significant increase above our last year’s intervention and indeed every other year, since inception.
“This remarkable success is due to sustained efforts at expanding and increasing the efficiency of collection of the Education Tax, and the gracious concurrence of Mr. President for an increase in the tax from 2.5% to 3.0% in the year 2023.
“We grateful to all the key actors, notably the Minister of Education Prof. Tahir Mamman (SAN), Minister of Finance and coordinating Minister for the Economy, the Chairmen and members of the Senate and House Committees on TETFund and the Chairman Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) for their unwavering support, towards the sustainably improvement of the collection,” Echono said.
He further said the 2023 strategic meeting and indeed other workshops organized last year, pertinent issues and concerns were raised, necessitating a refocus and provision of some new areas of intervention for the Year 2024.
The approved new intervention lines in the Annual Direct Disbursement, according to him include the establishment of Career Centers/Unit, in all categories of beneficiary institutions as well as the Institution Based Skills development for Polytechnics. In response to popular demands from the Colleges of Education, the teaching practice allocation has been greatly enhanced.
For the Special Direct Disbursements, he said it has increased the allocation for the Special High Impact Programme (SHIP), and the number of benefitting institutions have also been increased to two per geopolitical zone per category giving a total of 36 beneficiary institutions. Other areas of Special Direct Disbursement are provision for Hostels using the Public/Private Partnership arrangement, innovation hubs, Disaster Recovery, Security Infrastructure, Completion of abandoned projects and many others.
“In our bid to resolve the problems arising from the increase in exchange rates to our scholars, we have made provisions in the Year 2024 intervention to address the shortfall therein.
“We have sustained allocations for research including the National Research Fund, Research and Innovation Fund, Uptake of research findings to commercialization and supervision of scholars for PHD research. We have made provisions for four central multipurpose laboratories and additional provision for the three agricultural laboratories and demonstration farms initiated in 2023.”
The executive secretary reiterated that it is determined to deepen research, promote innovation and honing of skills in our beneficiary institutions. We will also encourage the discovery and development of creative talents amongst scholars and especially students, as a major pillar of the renewed hope agenda of the present administration.
He added; “We have sustained the implementation of the ICT road map with the provision for 3/4verged services, subscription services for electronic journals and databases, internet access and the Tertiary Education Research and Application Services Platform (TERAS) initiative.
“Whilst increasing the ICT Support Intervention to beneficiary institutions as part of our ICT initiatives this year, we seek to deliver online access to a one-stop aggregation of online learning and course certifications from the world’s leading providers: Udemy, Udacity and Coursera using AVIS which is an aggregated multi-provider online course leaming and certification platform. This is an initiative by the Fund to sponsor beneficiary institutions students’ access to the course learning/certification platform.
“We will intensify efforts at automating our processes and to this effect we are commencing the parallel run for electronic submissions of the Physical Infrastructure Intervention submissions from January 22, 2024. We will equally be expanding access for the diverse student population of the National Open University by upgrading their study centers to experience centers to facilitate improved access to teaching, learning and research.
“There will be an upgrade of laboratories, workshops and equipment to Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education (Technical) in the Year 2024 intervention.”
He further reminded participants of the significance of the meeting, urging them to utilize the opportunity to discuss some of the issues affecting their institutions and TETFund interventions or operations.