From JACOB KUBEKA (Abuja) – Nigeria’s Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has successfully carried out Sensitization and Awareness Exercise in 26 Federal and State tertiary educational institutions in the North-West geopolitical zone of the country.
According to TETFund’s Director, Corporate Affairs and Public Relations, Ebikwo Benn, the exercise, which is for all the beneficiary institutions of the Fund, was in line with the determination of the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa towards ensuring that all processes for the agency’s interventions are made open and known to all stakeholders.
Ebikwo said in a statement on Monday that Dr. Baffa, who led his team to the states in the North-West as the fourth geo-political zone to be visited, told participants at the various campuses of the institutions that the seminar became necessary in order to get rid of all the encumbrances encountered in accessing intervention allocations from TETFund.
He added that Dr. Baffa, who blamed some of the encumbrances on lack of information, distorted or outright wrong information and unnecessary ambiguity created by some Desk Officers and staff of beneficiary institutions, however assured that the seminar would now make all processes open to all stakeholders in the various academic community.
He quoted the TETFund boss as sayinf that his management was committed to ensuring beneficiaries adhere strictly to the established guidelines and procedures for smooth running of the TETFund operations necessary for maximum impact.
Baffa also explained that the seminar was not only meant to clear grey areas through a detailed presentation of all the requirements for each of the Intervention Lines but also to enhance a more cordial and effective collaboration between the beneficiaries and Management of the Fund.
During the sensitization workshops, teams from TETFund drawn from the relevant departments for the various intervention lines as well as from the Internal Audit Unit of the Fund made presentations, showing the audience how to comply with the guidelines of all TETFund interventions.
The papers presented at each of the venues of the seminar, were from the Project Monitoring Department, Department of Monitoring and Evaluation, Department of Academic Staff Training and Development (AST&D), Department of Education Support Services and Internal Audit Unit (IAU).
Several questions, reactions and observations arose from the Academic and Non Academic Staff as well as union members who were eager to get answers and clarifications on issues affecting them individually and collectively as an institutions.
From the foregoing, it was observed that many of the staff of the institution have very little knowledge of the available opportunities for them, especially with regards to accessing the Academic Staff Training and Development Intervention line, Education Support Services (ESS) as well as Institutional Based Research (IBR).
The Executive Secretary readily provided detailed answers to each of the questions and observations raised, thereby leaving everyone better informed and educated about the processes involved in accessing allocated funds.
Apparently satisfied by the outcome of the seminar, some of the participants called for more of seminars, adding that TETFund should continue to conduct the exercise annually so that staff of beneficiary institutions would be kept abreast of any development or updates in the guidelines.
Speaking during the seminar at the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration), Prof. KabirBala, who represented the Vice Chancellor, thanked the Management of TETFund for what he described as timely seminar in the school, saying it would save the Management of the university a lot of stress in bringing up proposals for infrastructural projects as well as guiding would-be TETFund Scholars to be able to meet up with the necessary requirements.
Professor Kabir pointed out that he was the immediate past TETFund Desk Officer and is well aware of the processes and has contributed immensely in assisting staff to access TETFund scholarships, debunking earlier observation raised about the staff not being aware of an existing Desk Officer in the institution.
He assured that henceforth, with the barrage of information provided, the Institution Management would leave no stone unturned by ensuring that strategic plans are well outlined in readiness to access allocations timely.
In Kaduna State, the institutions where the seminars held were, Kaduna State College of Education, GidanWaya, Kaduna State University, Kaduna, Kaduna State Polytechnic, Kaduna, Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA), Kaduna, Federal College of Education, Zaria, NuhuBamali Polytechnic, Zaria.
For Katsina State, the TETFund team held the seminar at the Federal University, Dutsinma, Isa Kaita College of Education, Dutsinma, Umaru Musa Yaradua University, Katsina, Federal College of Education, Katsina, and Hassan Usman Katsina Polytechnic, Katsina.
Also for Kano State, the institutions that benefitted from the seminar were The Nigerian Police Academy, Wudil, Bayero University (BUK), Kano State University of Science & Tech (KUST), Yusuf MaitamaSule University, Kano, Federal College of Education (Technical) Bichi, Kano, Federal College of Education and Sa’ adatuRimi College OfEducation, Kumbotso, Kano.
The team visited Jigawa State were the seminar was taken to Jigawa State College of Education, Gumel, SuleLamido University, Kafin Hausa, Jigawa State Polytechnic, Dutse, and Federal University, Dutse.
It was similar story for Kebbi State where the TETFund team visited Federal University BirninKebbi, Federal Polytechnic BirninKebbi, College Of Education AuduArgungun, and Kebbi State Science & Technology, Aleiru, for the Sensitization and Awareness Exercise.
It is pertinent to state that the exercise which has already taken place in the North-Central, South-West, South-South geo-political zones before now is in continuation of the promise by the Dr. Baffa to ensure that beneficiary institutions take control of the interventions of TETFund through giving them first-hand information and making everything transparent.
It would be recalled that TETFund under Dr. Baffa had carried out Access Clinic and Budget Defence Exercise earlier in the year, all aimed at ensuring speedy and maximum draw down on all outstanding allocation from TETFund to its beneficiary institutions.
While the Access Clinic helped clear up misunderstanding and encumbrances against speedy draw down of monies allocated to institutions for various projects, the Budget Defence Exercise ensured that institutions sit down with management of TETFund and scrutinize their various submissions for intended projects so as to reduce delay in getting approvals for the commencement of projects.
The Sensitization and Awareness Exercise will be concluded with visits to the North-East and South-East geo-political zones of the country within the month of October, 2017.