The Tertiary Education Trust Fund and the Academic Staff Union of Universities among other stakeholders on Monday kicked against efforts to include private universities as part of beneficiaries of the fund.
In addition, the Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union and the “Say No Campaign” vehemently kicked against the proposal to make private institutions and Teaching Hospitals to be beneficiaries of TETFund.
The bodies made their presentations at a public hearing on the bills for the amendment of the TETFund Act.
The House of Representatives committee holding the public hearing is chaired by Hon. Aminu Suleiman.
Two of the bills for consideration centered on the amendment of the TETFund Act to include private universities and federal teaching hospitals as beneficiaries of the fund.
In his presentation, the ASUU President, Biodun Ogunyemi, said: “We are against inclusion of teaching hospitals into Tetfund. National Assembly has made 1 per cent in the 2018 budget to health sector. That should be enough for them.
“Inclusion of Federal Teaching Hospitals will make the intervention of Tetfund ineffective.
“The impact of Tetfund will be drastically reduced.
“It will reduce the effectiveness of beneficiaries of the fund.
“It could trigger abuse.
“It will bring about floodgate.
“We should keep it like that for now.
“The mandate of teaching hospitals falls under Ministry of Health so the ministry should continue to fund it.
“Private universities should contribute, not to be collecting from Tetfund.
“They are charging and making profit.”
Also speaking in support of ASUU, the President of COEASU, Dr. Nuhu Ogirima, noted: “I could not have said anything better that what ASUU President has said.
“We will embark on protest if the request is granted.
“The time is not ripe for such amendment.
“We should even strengthen their resource base.”
In his presentation, Comrade Ezenwa Nwagwu of the Say no Campaign Nigeria said the proposal should not be allowed to scale through.
Nwagwu said: “Every time you see all kinds of intrusion, it will simply mess up TetFund because the agency is helping education.
“If we open floodgate, we are going to be promoting corruption within the Nigeria Universities Commission.
“People in NUC will make it easy to create universities in order to access the fund.
“We should leave Tetfund the way it is.”
In his presentation, the Executive Secretary of TetFund, Dr. Abdullahi Baffa, who spoke against the bills said the inclusion of other institutions will mean the drop in the world ranking of most Nigerian institutions.
Baffa said: “Admissibility of tertiary teaching hospitals, private universities and colleges of agriculture will mean the drop in the world ranking of most Nigerian institutions that are already lagging behind.
“It will lead to the agitation by other members of the monotechnic family that were hitherto excluded from TETFund beneficiaries to be captured in TETFund beneficiary institutions list.
“In view of the foregoing submissions, our humble prayers are that the existing TETFund Act should be allowed to remain and operate as it is currently in order to sustain the visible impact of the fund on public universities, polytechnics and colleges of education
“The House of Representatives should discourage any amendment to the TETFund Act 2011, which would put more pressure on the Fund by expanding the list of beneficiaries of the fund.”