For Nigeria to be a player in the 21st century economy which is knowledge and technology driven, it must prioritise and consistently improve education sector funding, Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has said.
The governor made this known on Thursday at the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Taxpayer’s Forum with the theme, ‘Tetfund Intervention: Catalyst for Transforming Tertiary’.
Sanwo-Olu, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, said no nation would attain any meaningful development without improving its human capacity.
According to him, it is only through the sustenance of human resources that other factors needed to grow the economy can be given meaning.
“As we all know, no nation can talk about meaningful achievement without the development of its human capital. It is through the upgrade and sustenance of human resources that other factors needed to grow the economy can be given meaning,” he said.
Sanwo-Olu noted that it had become necessary for stakeholders in the country to collectively show commitment to developing implementable strategies and initiatives that would significantly enhance the level of funding on a sustainable basis for public tertiary institutions in the country.
While acknowledging the contribution of TETFund to the improvement in the quality of tertiary institutions, he stated that efforst should not just be limited to the building of physical structures alone but to invest in research and development as well.
The governor cited the role of the academia in the development of Thailand which paved the way for the transformation of the country.
According to him, there are several universities whose endowment funds are in excess of what nations in Africa can muster.
He said, “The challenge to TETFund is how do we galvanise a “Silicon Valley” for Nigeria. We can partner to create Tech Hubs.
“Adequate funding for infrastructural development and research will definitely have a positive impact on the quality of research at this level will hopefully reduce the incessant disruption of academic calendar in our public institutions.”
The Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who was represented at the event by the Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council, University of Benin, Dr. Sonny Kuku, stated that the development of a nation remained synonymous with that of its education sector.
According to the minister, it is the desire of the Federal Government to among other things, reduce significantly the out-of-school children population, consolidate on the achievements of millennial goals on education and improve access to and quality of the nation’s tertiary education.
These, he said, were some of the many programmes, projects and policies of the present administration to change the narrative of the education landscape in the country.
The Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, stated that the Taxpayers Forum served as a platform to honour and identify individuals and companies that had made contributions to education through the consistent payment of education tax and had invariably contributed to the development of education and by extension that of the entire nation.
He stated that to improve on the development of the needed skills, knowledge and ability to manage the vast human and material resources of the nation, investment in education had become inevitable.
According to him, the Fund since its establishment in 2011 has continued to record tremendous achievements as it has always made funds available to institutions in various intervention lines.
Bogor disclosed that an estimate of 152,838 various infrastructure projects had been carried out across various public tertiary institutions since the establishment of TETFund.
He said noted that the projects were construction of lecture theatres, classrooms, hostels, offices, laboratories, road networks and fencing of institutions in different parts of the country.
The Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, said the interventions of TETFund in the areas of research and development, library development and training of lecturers as key aspects of the interventions were commendable.