Echono… Raising the bars for technology, innovations in tertiary education
On assumption of office in Marcy last year, the Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Arc. Sonny Echono affirmed the Fund’s commitment to the development of technology and innovations in Nigerian tertiary education.
He outlined some of the initiatives that would be brought on board as he paddled the affairs of the Fund. He sounded that for there to be a transformation in the education sector, there was need to focus on the quality of graduates being churned out by tertiary educational institutions.
This according to him was because the nation’s curriculum system was theory-driven and as such, could not meet the requirements of the industry.
“As such, graduates who join the workforce usually require further training and retraining to fit into job roles”, he said.
He, therefore, pledged to forge a sustainable partnership between academia and the industry in order to determine necessary actions to remedy the situation as well as provide permanent solution to the skill gap in the country.
He said: “The government of Nigeria thinks in the direction of promoting technology and we are in the process of establishing a national institute here in Abuja. There will be a postgraduate institution, which is also intended to stimulate the technological transformation of our country.
True to this promise, Echono has been proactive, holding partnerships that aim to strengthen the relationship between the academic and the industry.
As part of such efforts the Fund recently went into partnership with Innov8 Hub, an Innovation Startup-driven organization. The collaboration was to enable innovative opportunities accessible to academics in tertiary institutions.
Speaking recently during the opening event of the TETFund Alliance for Innovative Research (TETFAIR), an initiative aimed at helping academics and researchers to transform ideas into prototypes for commercialization, Arc. Echono, reiterated the readiness of the Fund to support and replicate innovation hub projects in public universities and other tertiary educational institutions in the country.
According to the ES, “Being a year-long programme, the TETFAIR is aimed at providing unique opportunities for our academics and researchers to transform their ideas into market-driven solutions, including the development and fabrication of prototypes.
“Through the programme, selected teams of researchers and academic staff with promising ideas for innovative solutions in the program areas of focus are being taken through a journey that combines technology and product development along with venture creation”.
According to Echono, many Nigerians who took part in startup programmes by Innov8 Hub have recorded several breakthroughs in inventions and technology.
Declaring the programme open, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, stated that the initiative would help in addressing the existing gaps in education and proffer solutions that would help Nigeria meet global demands.
According to Adamu, who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Honorable Goodluck Nanah Opiah, “Most of the countries that have emerged as global leaders have achieved this status through ingenuity and hard work of their scientists. I believe that all the experiences gained would be deployed to improve and expand the frontiers of science and technology in solving real life problems.”
Also at that fair was the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Adeleke Mamora. The Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Monilola Udoh, represented him. The Minister told the guests that the initiative would further help in harnessing the massive talents in science and engineering in Nigeria as well as boost local enterprises.
Explaining the role of Innov8 Hub in the collaboration, the Communications Adviser, Mr. Deji Ige, stated that the “Innov8 Hub in simple terms, was a midwife that helps Nigerians who are pregnant with innovative ideas to birth their ideas into invention, nurse their invention into solution and transform their solution into enterprise.
Noting that Innov8 Hub has helped Nigerians in developing and perfecting over 72 prototypes ready for commercialization, Ige added that it has also been involved in the emergence of 15 solid startups and currently working with over 150 innovators, inventors and venture creators, among whom are academics and researchers.
The TETFund Director of Research and Development, Dr. Salihu Girei Bakari, in his remarks, commended the initiative. He went on to outline some of the benefits of the partnership to include reduction in the wholesale consumption of foreign technology, increase in knowledge creation and absorption through creation of patents.