TETFUND Seeks Better Welfare for Higher Institution Workers

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, has urged the 202 public tertiary institutions under its mandate to address infractions in their content-based interventions committed by some benefiting academic and non-academic staff.

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Dr. Abdulahi Baffa, who state this while addressing participants at a one-day awareness workshop at FCT College of Education, Zuba, decried widespread violations to its guidelines by some staff of public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education after accessing funds.

Baffa said TETFund has come to realise that some scholars under its academic staff development programme failed to undertake postgraduate academic studies in designated institutions abroad after collecting monies for the same purpose.

“Our realisation is that in most of these content-based interventions, you find problems of scholars given money to go to study abroad or even at home, refusing to go, collecting the money and staying at home.

“Staff given money to attend conferences, refusing to go, money coming for teaching practice, unions coming to flock the office of the provost or the bursar, insisting that this is welfare it must be shared without doing the supervision,” he said.

According to him, there are lots of infringements arising from lack of information about the guidelines and regulations governing the operations of these interventions and utilisation of accompanied allocations.

Baffa also condemned what he called “the tyranny of TETFund desk officers” over their failure to properly communicate with beneficiaries of various interventions but choose to compromise the process.

“We feel it is only appropriate, rather than hearing from the same people like the provost, desk officers, librarian, director of academic planning, director of project, you always hear from them; in many institutions, these people are not being believed.

“There is what we now call in TETFund the tyranny of desk officers. TETFund desk officers in many institutions, are responsible for the lack of information in many institutions. Communication will come, they will throw it into their drawer.

“They will not notify even the head of the institution, although it is addressed to the head of the institution; they only call a few of their friends, some will only deal with staff to compromise the process,” he said.

The TETFund boss noted that the awareness workshop was part of the fund’s new policy to bridge the information gap between the 202 beneficiary public institutions and TETFund operational guidelines and regulations.

“We thought that we need to come and open TETFund for every critical stakeholder to see; this is who we are in our nakedness; this is what we do in our crystal clear and in detail.

“When we are on the same page, we believe that the relationship between TETFund, beneficiary institutions and benefiting staff is going to be even stronger, smoother and the efficiency of accessing interventions will be much higher, and overall performance of all the interventions will be accelerated towards achieving the desired objective of making our tertiary education institutions globally competitive.

On the four mandate areas of TETFund, he said the fund established 14 intervention lines or 14 pockets of intervention, which have their own condition of access, guidelines of drawing down, making disbursements, utilizing them and retiring them, adding that the fund was in Zuba to bare those areas to participants.

“The content based intervention are largely going to you the staff, institution based research is going to staff, academic manuscript is going to staff, academic staff training and development is going to staff, conference attendance is going to staff, teaching practice is going to staff, national research fund is going to staff, higher education book development is going to staff.

“So quite a number of these content-based interventions are all going directly to staff. Now if our offices at the top are having some grey areas that they are not clear about and they are the ones that will go and tell some staff that will make the information available.

“So we feel that we need to go to each and every campus of our beneficiary institution and discuss present discuss our operations and guidelines and listen, get feedback from our direct beneficiaries especially in the content based interventions so that we can be on the same page,” he said.

Baffa disclosed that TETFund has created ICT support intervention to increase the visibility of all beneficiary institutions in the cyber space as quite a number of institutions in the country do not have websites, adding that even where they have, they are static, unchanging and difficult to go through.

“We want to support beneficiary institutions to have state-of-the-art, dynamic, user-friendly, very informative websites as well as using the bulk of the money to train staff to become ICT literate,” he said.

He rejected appeals by officials of the college to support entrepreneurship in COES, stressing that TETFund only supports institutions in their core mandate areas and entrepreneurship in COES was a misnomer.

Earlier, the Provost of FCT College of Education Zuba, Dr. Mohammed Gambo, noted it was the first time an Executive Secretary of TETFund was visiting the college to see for himself what is being done, what infrastructure is put in place by the fund and also to interact with the staff.

Gambo said participants of the workshop were members of the academic board, chairmen of the college’s unions, heads of departments, deans of schools and principal officers of the college.

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