ABUAD VC Advocates for Review of TETFund Act to Include Private Universities

ABUAD VC Advocates for Review of TETFund Act to Include Private Universities

Prof. Smaranda Elisabeta Olarinde, the Vice-Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), has called for a comprehensive review of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) Act of 2011. Her call aims to address the exclusion of Nigeria's 149 private universities from accessing TETFund allocations, which she describes as discriminatory and inequitable.

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During the inaugural Annual Bursary Lecture at Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State, Prof. Olarinde emphasized the critical role of funding in the governance framework of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). She asserted that equitable funding for both private and public universities is essential for national development, stressing that education is a cornerstone of societal progress.

Drawing comparisons with countries like Ghana, Kenya, and the United States, where government funding extends to private institutions based on merit and national educational objectives, Prof. Olarinde highlighted the need for Nigeria to adopt similar inclusive policies.

Addressing discrepancies within the TETFund Act, Prof. Olarinde pointed out contradictions between Section 3(1) and other provisions. While Section 3(1) outlines TETFund's mandate to support tertiary education nationwide, Sections 6(e) and 7(1) limit fund disbursement exclusively to public institutions. She argued that this exclusion violates constitutional principles of fairness and equity.

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Proposing urgent amendments to the Act, Prof. Olarinde advocated for the inclusion of accredited private universities that meet specified criteria for TETFund support. She underscored the potential of private universities to contribute significantly to Nigeria's economic growth and innovation agenda if provided with adequate resources.

Emphasizing the need for collaborative efforts, Prof. Olarinde urged private university proprietors to explore alternative funding sources and collaborate with stakeholders to advocate for policy reforms. She called for a paradigm shift towards inclusive education financing, involving contributions from various sectors of society.

In conclusion, Prof. Olarinde emphasized the importance of an inclusive TETFund system to promote healthy competition, enhance educational standards, and unlock the full potential of Nigeria's academic sector. She urged stakeholders to prioritize national development through equitable access to educational resources.

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The call for a review of the TETFund Act echoes longstanding concerns regarding funding disparities between public and private universities in Nigeria. As debates on education financing continue, Prof. Olarinde's advocacy underscores the imperative of inclusive policies to drive sustainable growth and development in the country's higher education sector.