The Chairman Board of Trustees (BOT) of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), Alh. Kashim Ibrahim-Imam has reiterated TETFund’s commitment towards ensuring that all the newly built Academic Publishing Centres across the country commence operations soon in order to serve the purpose of their establishment.

The Chairman BoT gave this assurance on Tuesday, October 20, 2020 during the visitation and assessment of the Academic Publishing Centre situated at the Federal University of Technology, Minna by TETFund BOT members, members of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and Heads of beneficiary public tertiary institutions in the North Central Zone.
The Chairman BoT said the purpose of the exercise was for the Board of Trustees in collaboration with the members of Technical Advisory Group and the beneficiary institutions within the North Central geo-political zone to discuss and deliberate on the best way of operating, managing and sustaining the Academic Publishing Centre.

Alh. Ibrahim-Imam who was represented at the event by Prof. Jide Alo, a member of TAG stated that the Academic Publishing Centres’ intervention across the country was based on the submission made by TETFund BoT in 2009 to the Federal Government for the sum of Two Billion Naira (N2.0b) for Higher Education Book Development Project to take off in 2009, adding that the Federal Government graciously approved the recommendation which led to the establishment of the Book Development Committee to actualize the project. He further disclosed that 2.95billion naira was added to the funds in 2019 which also led facilitated the work and consequent inauguration of the Technical Advisory Group in August, 2019.
“One of the primary objectives of the Higher Education Book Development Project was to design, construct and equip model Academic Publishing Centres (APCs) in selected institutions and link their activities and services to the Public Tertiary Institutions within the geo-political zone to serve as publishers of academic textbooks”, the BoT Chairman revealed.

“I wish to reiterate that the education system of a country is very strategic and germane for overall development of any nation; hence should be given top priority over every other sector. In view of this, I wish to assure you that TETFund will continue to deliver responsive intervention programmes and will be at the forefront of promoting creative and innovative approaches to educational learning and championing new literacy enhancing areas”, he noted.
In addition, Alh. Ibrahim-Imam expressed appreciation to President Muhammadu Buhari for his untiring support to the Fund in his effort to restore, rehabilitate and consolidate on the educational activities in Nigeria’s tertiary institutions.
On his part, the Executive Secretary, TETFund, Prof. Suleiman Elias Bogoro stated that the Academic Publishing Centres built by TETfund across the country would address the paucity of indigenously authored and produced tertiary level textbooks and related academic publications in the nation’s tertiary education institutions.

“Overtime, publication of indigenous academic texts are done outside the shore of Nigeria. Hence, we have our books being published in U.K., India, U.S.A, etc with the attendant consequences of the pressure in the demand for foreign currency. It is equally worrisome that the quality of most academic publications in our country lives much to be desired. It is therefore expected that nurturing the culture of quality authorship and the production of indigenous books will not only ensure the availability of relevant books in the diverse subject areas that take cognizance of our local environment and sensitivities, it will also safeguard our national pride and reduce the demand on foreign exchange”, The Executive Secretary submitted.

Represented by the Acting Director, Education Support Services, TETFund, Mr. Okunlola Kolapo further disclosed that scarcity of tertiary level texts in Nigeria has reached a crisis proportion as evident not only in the quality of books available but also in the quantity of books produced locally to tackle the crisis head long which necessitated the conception of the establishment of Academic Publishing Centres in April, 2012.

“Given the limitation of resources needed to transform existing university publishing houses and management, the Fund’s intervention is targeted at creating the capacity for academic publishing through the establishment of the APCs with the state of the art facilities in tertiary institutions located across the six geo-political zones in the country with the hope that it will enhance the production of quality books, journals, monographs and other specialized reading materials as well as facilitate e-publishing of books and journals. It is on the strength of this goal that the Academic Publishing Centre to service the Tertiary Institutions located in the North Central Geo Political Zone is located in Federal University of Technology, here in Minna, Niger State”, he enthused.

Also instructive to note, the Executive Secretary stated that TETFund in the last two years, has given more attention to Research, publication and acquisition of instructional materials all in a bid to institutionalize research and development for national development and improve the global ranking of Nigeria Tertiary Institutions.

Delivering his welcome address at the event, the Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Prof. Abdullahi Bala, fsssn, lauded TETFund for establishing the Academic Publishing Centre (APC) in FUTMinna to serve public tertiary institutions in the North-Central Zone and expressed hope that the outcome of the stakeholders meeting would define the operational mode of the APC.

“We are happy that TETFund at last is trying to ensure that they bring the Academic Publishing Centre in FUTMinna and others back to life for the production of quality books, journals and learning materials. I believe that by the time the various TETFund Committees of the APCs visit all the seven Academic Publishing Centres in the country, the robust discussion that will be associated with this visit will allow us to come up with policies that will be acceptable to all of us”, the Vice-Chancellor disclosed.

The University helmsman further applauded TETFund for its various interventional supports for the development of public tertiary institutions in Nigeria.
There were also presentations by the Chairman of the Academic Publishing Centres’ Technical Advisory Group, Prof. Charles Ogugua Aworh who was also represented by Prof. Jide Alo on the sustainability of the Academic Publishing Centres across the country while Prof. A. M. Maisamari took participants at the event through the organizational structure and management of the various Academic Publishing Centres in the country.

The Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Bala later took dignitaries at the event on a tour of the Academic Publishing Centre for them to have first-hand information on the state of the building and other things needed to be put in place for effective operation of the Publishing Centre.

The seven Academic Publishing Centres approved for each geo-political zone and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) are; North East- Modibbo Adama University of Technology, Yola, North Central- Federal Universityof Technology, Minna, North West- Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto and South West, University of Lagos. Others are; South East- Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, South-South- University of Calabar and the Federal Capital Territory- University of Abuja.

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