The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) is a fund that supports the country’s private universities. The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has sworn to oppose any move by the federal government to include these schools as beneficiaries.
At a two-day interactive meeting between TETFund and the unions of beneficiary institutions, Professor Emmanuel Osodeke, president of ASUU, explained the union’s perspective. Osodeke said that such a strategy will increase the number of private universities and erode the standard of living in the nation.
He praised TETFund for its performance and urged the organisation to work more on the monitoring mechanism of its projects across the nation, emphasising that the beneficiary institutions’ performance levels are not consistent because some of them received the same funding.
The president of ASUU also urged TETFund to impose penalties on institutions that are not doing well and to support the elimination of what he dubbed the “stakeholders fund.” He stated, “Until the correct thing is done in our tertiary institutions, ASUU will continue to go on strike. Stakeholders fund ought to be eliminated.
The TETFund Executive Secretary, Arch Sonny Echono, stated earlier in his welcome speech that the interactive session was planned as a proactive engagement against the backdrop of the ongoing issues in the subsector.
Echono emphasised the necessity for ongoing engagement and peer challenge on how to best improve the situation while pointing out that the engagement was also for the aim of sustaining stable growth and development of tertiary education.
“It is our sincere wish that this interactive session will create a conducive setting for us to comprehend some of the challenges and difficulties we face in providing high-quality education in our institutions and thereby significantly contribute to the accomplishment of the Fund’s goal.
“As you are all aware, the main goal of our organisation is to revitalize, consolidate, and fund tertiary education in Nigeria through project management and funding.The workshop is anticipated to provide a forum for discussing and minimizing instances of labour conflicts in the tertiary education sector as well as exploring methods to prevent and minimize their occurrence”, he stated.
He added that the interactive session would give the Fund, its beneficiary institutions, and the Unions the chance to strengthen their cooperation and coordination on issues pertaining to the expansion and development of tertiary education in Nigeria. We plan to share what we have done and are doing with you as partners and stakeholders, he continued.
The former president of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba, praised the fund for its steadfast commitment to the improvement of university education and experience for both lecturers, non-academic workers, and the student population at various campuses across the nation in his speech on “The Role of Trade Unions in TETFund Intervention Activities.
“Wabba stated that the ideological coherence and consistency of the unions at tertiary institutions has been extremely advantageous to the NLC. “The intellectually sound positions advanced by unions in our tertiary institutions drew a lot of inspiration and verve from the patriotic and historical resistance of the Congress against the debilitating influence and impact of neo-liberal policies of the successive government in Nigeria,” he said.