University lecturers from the faculties of arts, education, management, and social sciences have decried their exclusion from accessing Masters and Ph.Ds scholarships in any foreign university by Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
The lecturers said TETfund came up with a new policy, which stipulates that only lecturers in science and technology would be sponsored in foreign universities, while others could go to any university in the country.
They lamented that the policy was coming after they had secured admissions into various universities outside the country.
A lecturer in the art department of a university in the North, who pleaded anonymity, said they had applied for foreign scholarships, which were to be sponsored by TETFund and while waiting for disbursement, were denied access to the fund.
The lecturer said there is usually a percentage allocated to sciences and the arts, but “TETFund last week issued a directive to universities not to forward any foreign scholarship for arts, except sciences and engineering only. Law, management, and social sciences, as well as education, are all excluded from accessing foreign sponsorship. This time, it is 100 per cent sciences and engineering. The policy is harsh and makes it look like a punishment for those in humanities and social sciences.”
He called for a review of the policy in the interest of peace in the institutions.
“We need TETFund to review the policy because it looks like we are not needed in the system.”
The university teacher noted that though they were given the option of studying at home, he, however, lamented that most of them have secured admission abroad and only waiting for disbursement.
“It is when TETFund commenced disbursement that it came up with the policy. The agency needs to review it because it is harsh and shows a lack of fairness in what they are doing,” he said.
Another lecturer, Prof Edwards Linus, said: “We are not happy with the new policy because those of us in academics share almost the same thing in terms of rights and privileges for further studies at the level of masters and Ph.Ds. The new policy is now talking about sciences, technology, engineering, and computer science, like those approved for foreign scholarships, while those for social sciences and management are not approved. It will not augur well for us and even the Nigerian university system.”
Linus reminded that Nigeria has universities of technology, aviation school, and institutes offering science courses, while there is none for social sciences while alleging injustice and imbalance in the policy.
Another scholar, Prof Clara Otiti, urged TETFund to review the policy, which she described as biased and in bad faith.
She wonders why those in the sciences will be trained and their counterparts in arts and social sciences are left out.
Reacting, TETFund Director of Corporate Affairs, Abdulmumuni Oniyangi, said the new policy is aimed at encouraging science and technology.
He said: “The reason is that we are looking at exposing our people to modern technology and scientific approaches to solving problems. We do not have the equipment to enable them to do it and we are not saying science courses can’t be done in the country as well.”
While faulting claims by some of the aggrieved lecturers that they spent their money in getting the foreign scholarship, Oniyangi said when TETFund sponsors; it is 100 per cent and not a partnership so it was not true that the scholars spent their money as claimed.
“The policy is not retrospective, it is just taking effect from the allocation we gave last week. Whoever has applied as against what has been given still stands and we are saying this is going forward,” he stated.
- The Guardian