TETFund to establish innovation hubs in six universities

Sonny Echono, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has disclosed plans to establish innovation hubs in six universities in the country, according to its executive secretary, Sonny Echono.

Echono who spoke at a media conference in Abuja said the innovation hubs will be set up in polytechnics and colleges of education as well.

He said the innovation hubs would provide an opportunity for students, academics, and researchers in the universities as well as the public to transform their ideas into market-driven solutions and development.

The universities where the innovation hubs would be established are the University of Ilorin (Kwara), University of Maiduguri (Borno), Bayero University (Kano), Federal University of Technology (Imo), University of Port Harcourt (Rivers), and University of Lagos (Lagos), all representing the six geo-political zones in the country.

He said the innovation hubs became necessary because universities “ought to produce” graduates who can “do things with their brains and their hands”.

“We want to produce entrepreneurs, we want to produce wealth creators, we want to produce those who can actually activate various sectors of our economy through entrepreneurship and innovation,” he said.

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“We are in partnership with major innovation hubs that we use for training. But that comes to us at a cost. We want to domesticate this in our institutions so that the training can be round the clock. And they (universities) will not only be training their students but their scholars and lecturers can carry out innovative research and even members of the public in those areas can also have access to those innovation hubs so which will also enhance their contribution to their various communities.

“We are doing this in all three tiers. We will be doing six in universities this year. Three in polytechnics and three in colleges of education technology.”

The executive secretary added that the innovation hubs will be established in other universities in years to come.

Echono, who also provided a breakdown of the N320 billion recently approved for TETFund by President Muhammadu Buhari, said 95 percent would go directly to beneficiary tertiary institutions.

Echono said the remaining five percent would be used for staff salaries and allowances, including project monitoring.

He said in terms of funds disbursement, annual direct disbursement, and the zonal intervention — apply to all public beneficiary institutions regardless of size and needs.

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He however added that select institutions will get special disbursement for high-impact projects.

“We do this by rotation. All these that got last year, they will not get this year anymore. We rotate among the zones. Next year other institutions will benefit. There is also a balance between the federal and state institutions,” he said.

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