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TETFund considers suspending foreign scholarships over forex crisis



FACT CHECK: Is TETFUND giving Nigerian students N30,000 grant?

The foreign exchange crisis currently rocking the country and making life difficult for Nigerians has led the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) into considering the suspension of its foreign scholarships programme.

According to TETFund, the recent monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has created difficulties in the payment of foreign scholarship tuition and stipends.

Sunny Echono, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, disclosed this at a one-day Stakeholders’ Engagement on Emerging Issues with the TETFund Intervention in Abuja on Wednesday.

Ripples Nigeria reports that the nation’s currency, naira has been on a free fall since the administration of President Bola Tinubu abolished multiple exchange rates for the naira, electing to allow it to float.

The naira, under the current dispensation moved closer to the N1,000 to a dollar mark last week, closing at N925 per dollar on Tuesday.

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Speaking at the stakeholders engagement on Wednesday, Echono said since the fund’s allocation was barely enough to service programmes under its Tertiary Scholarship for Academic Staff, the fund was considering suspending foreign scholarships while also considering an upward review of local scholarships.

”The Fund at this material time is also discouraging beneficiary institutions from initiating new Benchwork programmes.

”Additionally, there are issues related to scholars not returning to serve their bonds at their home institutions upon completion of their programmes.

”In fact, the challenge of scholars absconding has undermined and complicated the TSAS programme and bringing it under intense scrutiny.

”It is for these and other reasons that this engagement was organised. We need to address these challenges and find solutions to ensure the effective and smooth implementation of our scholarship programmes,” he said.

Ochono also disclosed that the Fund had recently signed several MoUs with some prestigious institutions overseas that include universities in Malaysia, India, Brazil, France and the United States with a view to boosting and enhancing the TSAS programme in the future.

”You will also recall that to enhance the effectiveness of the National Research Fund, a National Research Fund Screening and Monitoring Committee was established to screen and select proposals from across institutions and researchers for funding.

”The committee comprises senior academic staff of universities and other tertiary institutions across the country. Members are appointed for an initial period of two years that is renewable. However, no member is allowed to serve for more than four years, which is equivalent to two terms.

”Similarly, to ensure the successful implementation of the Higher Educational Book Development Project, the Board of Trustees of the Fund set up the standing Technical Advisory Group committee in 2009.

”The mandate of this committee includes working collaboratively with the Fund to fine-tune the Book Development Blueprint into a Strategic working document that clearly spells out the administrative procedures, framework, and guidelines for effective access and utilisation of TETFund Higher Education Book Development Intervention Funds in Institutions within the nation.

”The TETFund Book Development Fund intervenes in three key areas: publication of academic books and the conversion of high-quality theses into books, support for professional Association Journals, and the establishment and sustainability of academic Publishing centres.

”It is pertinent to note that the standing Technical Advisory Group requires reconstitution just as the NRF Screening and Monitoring Committee, as some members have served for four years,” Ochono added.

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