FG Allocates N25 Billion for Upgrading Laboratory and Workshop Equipment in Tertiary Institutions

FG Allocates N25 Billion for Upgrading Laboratory and Workshop Equipment in Tertiary Institutions

By AmforGod J. Olisa

The Federal Government, through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), has earmarked N25 billion for the enhancement of laboratory and workshop equipment in public universities, polytechnics, and colleges of education (technical) across Nigeria, starting from the 2024/2025 academic session.

This announcement was made by TETFund Executive Secretary Arc. Sonny Echono during the submission of the TETFund ad hoc Committee on Equipment Upgrade in Workshops and Laboratories’ report to the Minister of Education, Professor Mamman Tahir, in Abuja.

Echono revealed that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu approved the N25 billion allocation in TETFund’s 2024 budget to address the issue of obsolete equipment in tertiary institutions. He noted that, historically, the intervention agency has focused more on infrastructure development and academic staff training, often overlooking the crucial aspect of upgrading laboratories and workshops that are essential for quality education and advanced research.

“President Bola Tinubu has charged the education sector to serve as the springboard for improving and growing our national economy,” Echono said. “One significant finding from our assessment was the neglect of quality equipment in our laboratories and workshops, which are vital for hands-on training and cutting-edge research.”

The N25 billion investment will be the initial step in a comprehensive plan to upgrade facilities. A committee has been established to conduct a thorough assessment of the needs across all institutions and to develop a sustainable roadmap for future investments.

In addition to this major initiative, President Tinubu has also approved an additional N5 billion specifically for upgrading skills-related equipment in polytechnic workshops. Polytechnics have been asked to identify at least five skill areas where this funding could make a significant impact.

The focus on polytechnics aims to transform them into centers of skill development, helping to alleviate unemployment and reduce youth involvement in cybercrime and other illicit activities. “We are fostering partnerships between polytechnics and organized trade groups to provide intellectual foundations and practical skills for young people, thereby enhancing their employability and contributions to the economy,” Echono explained.

Prof. Hayward Mafuyai, Chairman of the TETFund ad hoc Committee, described the current state of equipment in many institutions as alarming. “We found equipment from as far back as 1917 and 1927, which belong more in museums than in active use,” he said. “The intervention by TETFund is both timely and necessary to make our institutions competitive on a regional and international level.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Egbewole also praised the initiative, highlighting its potential to elevate the quality of education and research in Nigerian tertiary institutions. The comprehensive plan includes ensuring constant power supply to laboratories and workshops, integrating sustainable energy solutions to support 24-hour operations.

With this substantial funding and strategic planning, the Federal Government aims to significantly improve the quality of technical and scientific education in Nigeria, setting a new standard for tertiary institutions across the country.

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