TETFund moves to boost knowledge repository, tackle plagiarism in schools

As part of its efforts to encourage research among students of tertiary institutions, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), recently announced a N15 billion support for acceleration of works on the National Library.
Echono

Echono
As part of its efforts to encourage research among students of tertiary institutions, the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), recently announced a N15 billion support for acceleration of works on the National Library.

Speaking recently on the motivation for TETFunds commitment, the Executive Secretary, TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono, said it was to ensure knowledge repository and boosting of research among students.

He however blamed the delay in the completion of the structure on some contractual issues that needed to be resolved.

“We are aware that there are some contractual issues, agreeing on the revised estimated cost due to the time it has taken between when the last review was done and current cost of building materials as a result of the exchange rate.”

According to him, the memo was before the Federal Executive Council at a point because of the magnitude of approval required.
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“So, once that is done, the money is waiting and we will disburse it because we believe that a national library is central to our aspirations as a country that is willing to partake in the knowledge economy.”

Echono also decried the level of plagiarism among students, stressing that the Fund has set out to deal with the menace immediately he assumed duty in collaboration with institutions of higher learning.

“We agreed that one of the banes of our educational system is the fact that we do not have a national repository of knowledge. When you graduate or you are about to graduate, they give you project topics. You go and do your project. Then, you are required to submit five copies and keep one to yourself.

“The moment you go, they will park the whole thing in a place; the Head of Department may keep one in the departmental library while another copy would be taken to the central library.

“After some time, you see some of them appear in the market and are used by women to wrap akara because institutions do not have space to store them.”

Echono expressed worries that each year, schools have thousands of students submitting four copies of project each without consideration to storage facilities.

“That contributes to the problems we are talking about. One, we do not have these records. So, students don’t have access to them to learn or to do their research.

“You know there is book review and it is one of the best ways to commence your research work. Secondly, there are no citations for project works because they are not available and are not visible to anybody except those in that particular school.

“The third issue is that of plagiarism. Students can easily copy an entire thesis belonging to another student, change the name and submit same because there is no way of checking for originality since it was done in a different institution.”

To address the problem, Echono informed that a committee has been set up to provide necessary advice and that on the strength of that advice, the Fund has carried out an assessment and extensive consultations.

Consequently, it has commenced the digitization of thesis as a way of creating digital repositories. In addition, anti-plagiarism checker has been installed across institutions to ensure originality of thesis and projects.
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“We are installing it in all our institutions. We started with our own submissions. Anybody who is making any submissions to TETfund for research grants or for any kind of support, or even submitting report at the end of sponsorship for Master programme or Ph.D, will go through it to see if it is worth it.

“If you want us to publish your book, we will also take it through plagiarism test.

“The previous practice where we used international checkers did not prove useful locally because a lot of our documents are not digitized and as such, they are not even among the system checking.

“You are only checking them with what other people have published around the world, not locally. But now that we are digitizing our own and putting it out there, we are closing the gaps and that is ongoing. The requirement now is to have digital copy of thesis which is what you submit”, Echono stated.
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