TETFUND explains why some varsities are Centres of Excellence
Cyril Mbah, Abuja
The executive secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund [TETFUND], Professor Suleiman Elias Bogoro, has explained that 12 universities in the six geo-political zones of the country were converted to centres of excellence as a deliberate programme to challenge higher education institutions into aggressive research backed with valid experimentation on particular areas of specialisation.
He said the universities so classified will not operate as normal higher education establishments but are expected to prove with verifiable research projects that they deserve their classification.
The executive secretary said universities have now been challenged to think outside the box and excel on particular areas of the economy that would benefit their immediate communities in particular and the nation in general.
Bogoro made these revelations while speaking on Radio Link, a Radio Nigeria phone-in programme monitored in Abuja on Tuesday.
According to him, “The emergence of centres of excellence is a natural phenomenon not only in higher institutions but also in research establishments and any outfit that wants to be competitive.
“We want these universities to become something different, something farther and better than the average. There are also facilities in such areas that we can use to classify universities as Centres of Excellence.
“For a university, college of education or polytechnic, the first thing we look out for are the quality of facilities available for research and the quality of the personnel in the school.
“There are other key indices that we use for areas we want to make a centre of excellence. We look at the quality of the lecturers and how conducive the environment may be for learning and research. It also includes the calibre of people being mentored and the quality of the students who come out of such universities.”
He stated also that nearly one third of the universities so chosen were grouped to conduct investigations in biological fields, food security and ecology related subjects.
The executive secretary stated that such universities were critically packaged to positively serve the nation by providing the best investigative research environment for scholars in the effort to transform Nigeria into a knowledge economy.