FG moves to internationalize Nigerian tertiary institutions

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, says it has begun to improve facilities in universities, polytechnics and colleges of education to attract international faculties and students.

Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono, who disclosed this while receiving a team of the United Kingdom, UK, Government on International Education in Abuja, on Monday, said priority will be given to UK institutions to foster linkages and partnerships.

Echono said the collaboration will bring Nigerian institutions to international recognition, adding that TETFund is currently ranking its 253 beneficiary institutions, using parameters such as how much multidisciplinary research they have been able to undertake, and their degree of internationalisation, among others.

The TETFund boss said, “Over the years, TETFund has sponsored several students to UK universities and plans to expand the collaboration to other aspects.”

He added that the Fund plans to bring Nigerian Tertiary Institutions into competitive advantage globally, to ensure that Nigerian graduates are internationally recognised.

“The government has invested heavily in the education of these scholars, and it is disheartening to see many of them choose to stay abroad after their studies. Our goal is to foster collaboration with British universities to create a mechanism that encourages the return of our scholars to Nigeria.

“And these are things that we were looking at institutional ways of doing that, for example, where we see that partnerships already exist between our institutions and those abroad, they can share this period of training for example to ensure that they complete their training back home. These are some of the solutions that we are looking at in these engagements that we have,” he said.

Earlier, the UK Government International Education Champion, Prof. Sir Steve Smith, who led the delegation said the UK’s mandate to his team is to deepen relations with the education and research systems of Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Vietnam and India.

Smith, who was a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Exeter, said the UK recognises the importance of retaining highly skilled individuals in their home countries and acknowledged that the brain drain issue affects both Nigeria and the international community.

“We understand the concerns of the Nigerian government and we share the vision of providing quality education to talented individuals. By working together, we can create opportunities for these scholars to contribute to the progress of Nigeria while furthering their academic careers,” he said.

He noted that it is a lot cheaper to study here than it is to travel to the UK for three or four years and study.

Smith disclosed that the team has been partnering with the National Universities Commission, NUC, on the guidelines for transnational education and that it was reviewing a series of guidelines by the commission.

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