TETFUND scholarship beneficiaries lament shortage of funds

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Professor Elias Bogoro, TETFUND Executive Secretary
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Some of the scholars under the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFUND) academic staff training and development programme have lamented the shortage of funds to enable them complete their studies abroad.

They said that the current exchange rate was a major challenge affecting their studies abroad as a result of Naira depreciation, which made them embark on certain jobs to complete their studies.

The lecturers disclosed this when TETFUND delegation from Abuja visited the Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba, Delta State, to reconcile records with tertiary institutions and to get feedback from beneficiaries of the training programme.

Some lecturers, Hector Oyem, Lauretta Ejei-Okeke and others narrated the impact of the Naira depreciation on their studies in the United Kingdom.

“Some of us arrived foreign land and we had to do certain other jobs to cushion the effects of our weak naira.

“The value of naira kept depreciating and this adversely affected our studies to the extent that some scholars stopped at pilot study stage,” they said.

While some complained about delays in processing application for training due to COVID-19, other lecturers like Charles Tejiri, of the College of Education in Mossogar, said that out of the N1.5m approved for Master’s programme locally, only N1.2m was accessed.

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The TETFUND Chairman, Board of Trustees, Kashim Ibrahim, had, in a meeting with the management of the institutions, advised them to look inward in the training of their staff locally as result of the exchange rate.

He said, “For Academic Staff Training and Development, each university will access N150m this year.

“Polytechnics will access N120m, while Colleges of Education will also be accessing N120m.

”On naira exchange rate, the situation has affected the spending power of the agency, despite the increase in allocation. Therefore, I will advise heads of institutions to maximise funds and seek internal training opportunities.

“TETFUND has a budget of N300bn for 2021, with a focus on academic staff development and training and infrastructure.”

Giving a breakdown of Delta State beneficiaries, the Director of Staff Training and Development at TETFUND, Mohammed Sani-Suleiman, said that over N4.5b had been spent on the training of 1,127 lecturers in Delta State.

“Delta State benefited with 82 foreign PhDs, 562 local PhDs, 36 foreign Masters and 433 local Masters degrees, among others,” he said.

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