TETFUND and the call for local training of academics, By Zubaida Baba Ibrahim

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At this point in our national life, there is a need for various higher education institutions in Nigeria to review and assess the cost of staff training and further look for cost effective ways to build the capacity of their staff members in their country. Given the challenge of the depreciating value of the naira… the sooner we face and find ways to add value to our academic realities on the ground, the better for all of us.

Higher Education Trust Fund Board Chairman Kashim Ibrahim, sometimes in August, has advised higher education institutions across the country to train their staff locally due to the depreciating value of the naira.

Kashim advised Federal College of Education (Technical) Asaba in Delta State during a review of recipients of the PhD / Master’s Tetfund scholarship program.

While he insisted that TETFund attaches particular importance to the training and development of academic staff all over the world, he stressed that the major problem in calling for a more inner gaze is due to depreciation. from naira.

It is interesting to note that on occasion some teachers in the TETFund Academic Staff Development and Training program have complained about the lack of funds to enable them to complete their studies abroad. They said the current exchange rate was a major challenge affecting their studies abroad, which prompted them to take up certain jobs in order to complete their education.

Some told how the constant depreciation in the value of the naira affected their studies to the point that they had to stop at the pilot study stage.

Meanwhile, TETFund Executive Secretary Professor Suleiman Bogoro, in a one-day briefing with heads of recipient institutions in Abuja, explained that TETFund’s board has approved the sponsorship review. courses abroad. According to him, the focus would now be more on science-based master’s or doctoral programs.

Some of the overseas master’s and doctoral specializations approved from August include: aeronautical and astronautical engineering, biosciences, biomedical engineering, materials science and engineering, industrial systems and engineering, geosciences, behavioral sciences, engineering nuclear, oceanography, mathematics, mechanical engineering, etc.

This current development is causing concern among potential humanities and management researchers, as some of the courses that cannot benefit from foreign training now include law, languages, business administration, sociology and much more. ‘others.

As expected, the development sent many of these researchers into a frenzy to graze the rushed nature of the decision, without stakeholder consultation. Others also lament that the policy intervened after spending huge sums of money to gain admissions to various universities outside the country.

In addition, aggrieved students / scholars argued that, rather than a blanket restriction, the Fund should have reduced the number of stipends for arts and social sciences courses, while increasing those for science and engineering. , where the focus now seems to be.

Yet, although development may seem unfair and fair, TETFund’s position could be understood taking into account the reality on the ground, as some academic work is best undertaken locally as we still have the human and material resources for it, as well. than an environment, etc. For example, the fundamental goal of studying the humanities, such as the arts and social sciences, is for learners to push the boundaries of knowledge in relation to human and social behavior within organized groups. Therefore, this could also be done in local environments that serve as the context for some of this knowledge production.

However, as Nigeria is caught in a global world of science and technology in which it has a lot to catch up to to be competitive and productive for national survival and relevance, it must find ways to train human resources in them. technological hubs. development in an increasingly digital world. Therefore, researchers in fields related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics and other related disciplines certainly need training in places of advanced knowledge in this regard. They could also benefit from the favorable working environments in these places, while using the tools available to advance and broaden their fields of knowledge in the fields of innovation and creativity.

Although the TETFund should be advocated for a review of the funding of some humanities academics, who will benefit from training in Western knowledge production and research centers, yet, as mentioned, it is understandable that their Funding priorities change in sponsoring academics in science fields, we already have a worthy tradition of scholarship in the humanities in Nigeria, which can be enhanced for greater excellence at home. Even so, online education offers plenty of opportunities to develop knowledge without having to incur the very exorbitant fees required to train abroad.

At this point in our national life, there is a need for various higher education institutions in Nigeria to review and assess the cost of staff training and further look for cost effective ways to build the capacity of their staff members in their country. Given the challenge of the depreciation of the naira against foreign currencies, the sooner we face and find ways to add value to our academic realities on the ground, the better for all of us.

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