No fewer than 35,000 scholars have benefitted from the Tertiary Education Trust Fund training.
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, stated this in a chat with journalists at the weekend during the second anniversary of the Federal University of Health Science, Otukpo, Benue State.
Echono explained that TETFund intervened in five areas of provision, which include; infrastructure in tertiary institutions, staff development, research, and delivery system.
He said staff from graduate assistants to Masters degree holders as well as Doctorate degree holders were being sponsored to higher qualifications both within the country and abroad.
“We also undertake staff development to help scholars who were employed to undertake higher qualifications, so we sponsored them for Masters, Ph.D. and even post-doctoral program we have trained more than 35,000 scholars as at last year.
“We have students at home and abroad and our current impetus is to focus on our first-generation universities and specialised universities, Echono said.
Speaking on the salary of University lecturers, the Executive Secretary said he was ashamed of the take-home of Nigerian lecturers.
“On salaries of lecturers, I feel ashamed because I had the privilege to represent Nigeria at a global conference where former presidents and prime ministers were in attendance.
“I was asked if it is true that a professor after 20 years still earns less than a thousand dollar a month, I couldn’t answer that question, I only said that we are doing something about it,” Echono said.
While not concurring with the Academic Staff Union of Universities’ opposition to the proliferation of universities in the country, the retired Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education said the establishment of more universities was in response to demand.
“If you want to address problem, address it from the root. Stopping the establishment of new institutions because you want concentration on existing universities may sound like a good idea, but you have forgotten the other problems, that millions of Nigerians are being born and millions are applying for admission and places are few.
“Then, more and more will be denied access to education. So, what are you going to do, you are going to have many illiterates? We must balance it and must continue to establish new universities in response to the demand.
“That is why if you notice in the last few years, we are only establishing specialised institutions of human needs,” Echono explained.