Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETfund), on Saturday urged stakeholders to galvanise support towards building a knowledge-based economy for the country.
Bogoro made the call in a paper presented at the 9th Convocation Ceremony of Veritas University in Abuja. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the presentation was tagged: “Forging Partnerships in the Triple Helix Model and the Drive for the Institutionalisation of Nigeria’s Knowledge Economy.” Bogoro said that the country’s economy should be able to translate into solving the problems of its citizens.
According to him, Nigeria in spite of its place as Africa’s leading economy with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) projected to grow between 1.7 per cent and 2.0 per cent in 2021, must solve the problems of its citizens to make the GDP more meaningful. He, however, said it was necessary for educationists especially, among other stakeholders, to engage in problem-solving research and build a knowledge-based economy to ensure global competitiveness. “Today’s investment in Research and Development is tomorrow’s sustainable revenue for any investing nation. ” We cannot afford to waste more time for reinventing the wheels when we can leverage on innovations across the globe to fast-track development. “The obvious reality is that nations across the world are closing boarders due to the COVID-19 pandemic with underlying economic reasons. ” We must fix Nigeria by adding value to our natural resources for global competitiveness and sustainable knowledge economy,” he said. He said that since the country’s independence, Nigerian Universities had emphasised teaching at the expense of research. He added that most of the researches carried out in universities was for the purpose of acquiring degrees and not solving the nation’s socio-economic problems. Part of the problem, he said, was because there had not been an adequate commitment of funds into research and development in the country and that partly accounted for the failure of research in the country. He added that in spite of the periodical increase in the national research fund from N5 billion to N8.5 billion in 2021, the funds were still grossly inadequate. Bogoro said that TETfund had canvassed for the establishment of a National Research and Development Foundation in the country. According to him, when the plans are concluded and the foundation fully operational, the foundation will source over two billion dollars as seed money to be injected into research. He urged authorities of the Veritas University to enlist their support for the establishment of the Research and Development Foundation and join hands in developing Nigeria’s knowledge-based economy. “The foundation will sufficiently reflect the triple helix model toward attaining competitiveness in the global economy because it’s science, technology, and innovation that will make the difference in Nigeria’s economy. “We are determined to support problem-solving research and unless we do so, the universities are irrelevant,” he said. Also speaking, the Chancellor of the university, Rev. Ignatius Kaigama, who stressed the quality education offered by the university, said some graduates of the institution were gladly offered admissions in foreign institutions. Kaigama said that the university would continue to train students and equip them to develop self-confidence and become employers of labour, urging the graduands to remain focused and make the institution proud in their various fields of endeavor. Prof. Hyacinth Ichoku, Vice-Chancellor of the school in his address, said over the years, the institution laboured to equip the students morally and academically to prepare them for the world of work and further studies. Ichoku noted that the university’s Faculty of Law would commence as soon as approval was given by the National Universities Commission. He put the cost of constructing the law faculty of the university at N400 million, adding that construction work of the faculty would be concluded in June. NAN reports that 421 students of various fields of studies graduated from the school’s previous academic session, out of which 32 made First Class.