The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc Sonny Echono, was recently at the College of Education, Bichi, for the commissioning of seven completed seven capital projects under 2015/2016 TETFund annual intervention at the college worth N2.1 billion.
Echono explained at the ceremony that the Federal Government, through the Fund, has made huge investments in the provision of requisite infrastructure to aid teaching, learning and research in the nation’s public tertiary institutions spread all over the country.
He disclosed the Federal College of Education, Bichi, has been a major beneficiary of such huge investments since 2011 with the deployment of several critical infrastructure and human capacity intervention.
The executive secretary noted that the interventions were a clear demonstration of the government’s commitment to ensuring that tertiary institutions in the country attain higher global rankings in the delivery of academic content within a conducive environment.
According to him, from 2011 till date, TETFund has allocated over ₦6.8 billion to the college with over 90 per cent of the total fund fully disbursed. He however informed that the projects for commissioning were those executed under the years 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2019 merged Annual Interventions, as well as under the 2016 Special High Impact intervention.
This, Echono maintained, has translated to the provision of fully furnished and equipped college library, academic buildings and administrative buildings (all fully furnished), lecture theatre buildings with a combined sitting capacity of over 2,000 people. Other facilities include, lecture rooms to cater for about 1,500 students, over 50 staff offices, laboratories, workshops, male and female students’ hostels as well as numerous rehabilitation works.
He therefore commended the management of the institution for not relenting in its pursuit for improved quality of education through the provision of state-of-the-arts enabling environment for teaching and learning.
“There is the provision of teaching aids, computers, equipment, furniture, solar street-lighting, books and library materials worth over ₦1billion.
“This is in tandem with what the Fund has always strived for through provision of unhindered access to the required funds and even at times, provision of additional funds in form of special interventions where necessary.
“It is also worthy of note that TETFund always ensures equity in the allocation of funds to the three tiers of its beneficiaries such as universities, polytechnics and colleges in line with the enabling laws governing the activities of the agency.
“Now, considering the large number of facilities that TETFund has so far provided in this institution, we thought it was best to showcase the achievements of this administration through the commissioning of some of these iconic projects. Although there is always room for improvement, it is very important to note that the journey towards this envisioned future has been progressive despite the various challenges the nation’s economy has faced.
“And further to that, the board and management of TETFund is committed to putting all hands on deck and mobilize all available resources to ensure that the goal is achieved with utmost precision.”
The TETFund boss stated that though the projects commissioned began in 2015, they were completed under his administration as the ES of the Fund at a total cost of over 2.1billion.
He believed that the infrastructure will, no doubt, provide significant expansion opportunities and an enabling environment for teaching and learning in the institution.
He however urged the management of the institution to endeavor to put the building and other facilities into optimum use and maintain the same to ensure that both the present and upcoming generations benefit fully from them.
He equally reminded the school that TETFund has set aside funds specifically for the maintenance of the buildings to ensure they are always in pristine condition.
In his remarks, Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Barau Jibrin, commended the Federal Government for committing over N6 billion TETFund intervention fund to infrastructures and teaching aids in Kano College.
He admitted that President Muhammadu Buhari has invested over N6 billion on educational infrastructure and capacity development of both teaching and non-teaching staff of the college under TETFund intervention in the last 12 years.
The Senator representing Kano North explained that the outgoing administration of President Buhari has committed huge resources towards enhancing teaching and learning as well as improved academic standards to make the nation’s tertiary institutions globally competitive.
Senator Jibrin, represented by Prof. Mohammad Abdullah, however admonished the beneficiary college to take full advantage of the facilities and make good use of them for the educational and vocational development of students.
He said: “It is important to commend and appreciate the President for his unwavering support to the development of the education sector since his assumption of office in 2015, and particularly in this case, TETFund. Education, as we all know, plays a critical role in the socio-economic development of nations, therefore, the commissioning of these projects today at the college would in no small measure, further enhance teaching and learning with the overall aim of improving academic standards.
“You will agree with me that education has formed an integral part of the President Buhari administration’s agenda. Hence, the Federal Government has continued to provide necessary support towards making our educational institutions globally competitive for economic and technological development of the country. It is also on record that through the support of the Federal Government, TETFund has performed exceptionally well in the provision of physical infrastructure, support for academic staff training and development, book publication, ICT, research and development among others in public tertiary educational institutions across the country.”
He added that he was particularly delighted that the Federal College of Education (Technical), Bichi and indeed, other public tertiary educational institutions in Kano State, have not been exempted from these intervention efforts of TETFund.
“I am further delighted to note that today, projects worth over N2.1 billion would be commissioned in this college. Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, as we dedicate these projects to the glory of God and humanity, I wish to admonish the college to take full advantage of these facilities and make good use of them for the educational and vocational development of our students”. He added.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education (NCCE), Prof. Paulinus Okwelle, appealed to the Fund to create an intervention line to provide adequate security to efficiently manage all gigantic intervention projects erected in the various tertiary institutions.
Okwelle, represented by Chairman, Committee of Provosts of Colleges of Education in Nigeria and Provost of Federal College of Education, Kontagora, Prof. Faruq Rashid, said the education sector in the country is in a “diabetic state” but notwithstanding, it owes the Fund commendation for providing pills that treats diseases affecting the education sector.
Earlier, the Provost, Federal College of Education, Bichi, Prof. Bashir Muhammad, stated that the commissioning of the projects will boost educational activities in the college. According to him, the institution currently has additional 58 classrooms (50 to 200 capacity), 18 theatres/conference halls, 125 offices and 172 toilets.
While applauding TETFund for its commitment towards successful execution of the project, the Provost highlighted some of the predicaments facing the College and called for government’s intervention.
He said: “In spite of the many achievements recorded, the major challenges confronting the college major remains inadequate funding, especially on overhead votes. The Federal government policy of outsourced staff introduced in 2004 has left a very big vacuum in the payment of emoluments of college security and cleaners of which both the college overhead and IGR are unable to address.
“This has therefore put the multi-billion-naira college property at risk of theft and vandalism. The security of both staff and students are under a very precarious situation. This required very urgent attention of stakeholders in the system. As a suggestion, a budgetary allocation line should be created on the overhead votes to capture for the payment of the entitlement of security and cleaning personnel in the college.
“Similarly, the students’ enrollment in the college is another important challenge. The drastic reduction of the number of students subscribing to the college of education in the country is posing a threat to the existence of the system. On our part, the college had to resort to seeking intervention of major stakeholders such as state and local government chairmen to encourage their wards to subscribe to the college.
“In view of the relocation of students to the permanent site, the municipal needs of the college will soar. Therefore, the college water generation and distribution capacity will pose an even greater challenge.
“Although the college’s proximity to Bugwai Dam may serve as an advantage, a modern high capacity processing and distribution plant is required to tackle the water problem permanently,” Professor Bashir noted.