The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETfund is leading the transformation of public tertiary institutions in the country to make them more relevant to addressing developmental challenges and improve their global ranking
The Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono stated this at the first Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA) Symposium, held at the Federal University Viçosa, Brazil.
Arc Echono said the Fund would strengthen collaboration with the Federal University of Vicosa, Brazil, the Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa, ARIFA and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa FARA to effectively deploy science and technology research in agriculture.
He said Nigeria and Brazil shares a lot of similarities such as climate, ecology and crops and Nigeria must take advantage and change the narrative.
‘’Until we make our educational institutions relevant to our national development objectives in our country, we won’t optimize the objectives for tertiary education, that is why we are strengthening collaboration’’ Echono said
‘’Our challenge is the quality of our graduates, when you say you are a graduate in Nigeria, what special skill do you have? Because in today’s workplace, it is not the length of your certificate, employers want to see what you are bringing to the workforce and what value creation you are going to be adding on, so essentially, they want fit-for-purpose graduates, the previous and current practice of employing people and send them for trainings, you spend so much money in sending them to Europe and other countries to retrain them before they can now work, that should be the thing of the pass’’
Here we see what they do, they prepare graduates for the market place, so we should bear that in mind on how we prepare future graduates to take advantages of the opportunities out there in the work place and Nigeria has a lot of this factors, giving our young population in Nigeria, our students are usually very intelligent, hardworking.
Brazil has done well in making itself self sufficient in all areas, you should take home some of those lessons that have been achieved here’’
On his part, the Ambassador of Nigeria in Brazil, Professor Mohammad Ahmad Makarfi, described the Symposium as timely in line with federal government’s effort at ensuring food security and curtailing importation.
In a presentation, The Executive Director, Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa FARA Dr Yemi Akinbamijo titled ‘’An Ambitious attempt at a systemic Transformation of the Nigerian Agricultural Innovation System: Lessons from Brazil’’ said Africa needs a critical mass of Agriculture research for development practitioners to accelerate growth and development and food sufficiency
Dr Akinbamijo said FARA is working to ensure food security, incomes and jobs, increased resilience, improved natural resource management, increased agricultural productivity, improved agro-industry competitiveness, and enhanced resilience to risks in Africa.
Agricultural Research and Innovation Fellowship for Africa (ARIFA) is a programme established to benefit African agriculture, building of strategic competence, and revitalization of pedagogy through the infusion of a new crop of professionals.
120 Nigerian scholars are currently running their master and PhD programme in Brazil and would be conferred fellows of ARIFA at the end of their studies.
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