Don wants tertiary institutions to focus more on Research

Nigeria is bedeviled with multifaceted development challenges despite huge investments in education over the years due to inability of tertiary institutions to focus their research energies on solving the problems in the country.

The Executive Secretary, Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Professor Suleiman Bogoro who stated this, said many countries in the world were investing heavily in and advancing towards conducting problem-solving researches that are impactful to their economies and national wellbeing.

Professor Bogoro made the observation as he presented his keynote address at the opening session of a capacity building workshop for Early Career Researchers (ECRs) and Postgraduate Researchers (PGRs) in Science and Technology, held at the Faculty of Science, University of Ibadan, Ibadan.

He spoke on the topic: ‘Refocusing Research in Nigerian Tertiary Education Institutions for National Development.’

The three-day event, which was declared open by the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Idowu Olayinka, was organised by the University of Ibadan Collaborative Academic Resuscitation and Transformation (UI-CART) Project in Science and Technology (SC-TECH).

He said,Nigerian academics are still largely confined to conducting basic research for publications in journals with the principal purpose of getting promotions within the system. These kinds of research have no practical value to the nation or even to our immediate communities other than for the academic staff to get elevated within the academic system.

Thus, whereas government continues to invest in education in research, the country gets practically nothing in return in terms of output from those researches being conducted in tertiary education institutions. This explains why we continue to lag behind scientifically, technologically and economically; and that explains why the role of education in achieving national development has remained at best, theoretical, Professor Bogoro explained.

Strengthening research

He further stated that it was imperative to make serious efforts at developing and strengthening research base in tertiary education institutions.

The country can stimulate more critical, objective and socially relevant research, promoting scholarly research in universities and research institutions within countries and outside, and through sound and meaningful policies of funding research. It has to be noted that the universities and research institutions in the country have the greatest potentials of institutionalising knowledge for development, Professor Bogoro said.

The Executive Secretary said TETFund has been taking impressive strides towards promoting Research for Development (R and D) in tertiary education institutions by committing requisite resources to innovative scientific studies, stressing that a Research and Development Department has been established in TETFund to bridge the gaps.

According to him, TETFund is convinced that Research and Development would not only contribute to the development of a mature and productive academic system in Nigeria but also to scientific innovations that would be useful to domestic industries and technology.

In the long run, it will serve as a catalyst to the realisation of the much-desired national industrial growth, employment generation and poverty alleviation. It is acknowledged that incentives for investing in Research and Development are numerous. So, maintaining and increasing Nigeria’s Research and Development in public tertiary institutions through innovative best practices, thereby creating the platform for researchers to patent and develop their findings as a progressive and the sustainable driver of economic growth, he added.

The Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, UI, Professor Idowu Olayinka that knowledge economy has replaced labour and natural resources-based economies.

Professor Olayinka said, Today, the largest companies in the world are those with technological products. It is therefore, very imperative that the University of Ibadan refocuses her attention appropriately. The PGRs and ECRs are the engine room of ideas. They have the strength and are often laser-focused on tasks assigned to them.

The products of our research from the Faculties of Science and Technology must be competitive among the best in the world and must be relevant to solving our national problems, he added.

Source: Voice of Nigeria