By Rosemary Ogbonnaya
Federal Government has presented to the public the first set of ten Tertiary Education Trust Fund,TETFund- Sponsored textbooks since 2014 under the TETFund, Higher Education book Development Projects.
Speaking at the textbooks presentation, the
Minister of State for Education, Hon. Goodluck Nanah Opiah assured that an additional thirty textbooks would be presented before the end of this year under TETFund sponsorship program.
Opiah who gave the assurance said
so far, seventy-seven manuscripts have passed through rigorous review processes by distinguished scholars and are ready for publication as books.
The Minister also disclosed that over 60% of these books are to be published by the Academic Publishing Centres,APCs,
established by TETFund.
According to him, the scarcity of tertiary level textbooks 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, adding that the need to tackle this crisis head-on resulted in the establishment of TETFund Higher Education Book Development Project.
“Nigeria’s tertiary education became dependent on books published outside the country with the attendant consequences of the pressure on the demand for foreign exchange.
” It is equally worrisome that the quality of most academic publications in our country leaves 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 but will also safeguard national pride and reduce the demand for foreign exchange,” he said.
Opiah, therefore, expressed hope that the presentation of this set of books which will herald subsequent presentations under the Higher Education Book Development Intervention will attain the desired objective of bridging the gap of indigenous authorship, book publications as well as enhance efforts towards the achievement of the Education for Change: A Ministerial Strategic Plan,MSP, which is the Road Map for the education sector in Nigeria.
While explaining reasons for having only authors of the ten textbooks from Universities and Colleges of Education, the Executive Secretary, TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono said,” We have over 66 manuscripts but what we are unveiling today were published by only one publisher- printing press and the selection of books does not reflect the various diversity of subjects rather, the first publisher that finished publishing. By the time we unveil the rest 30 by the end of the year, you are going to see that all the authors will cut across three layers of our tertiary institutions.”
Echono further said that ten textbooks covered all sides of academic area but because of the need, the board is printing on the basis of need, printing on the pressure, saying the paucity of reading is more prevalent in sciences and technical fields.
“So naturally there are more specialised books in the science but you are going to find books on humanity, medicine, pharmacy, engineering, architecture and all facets,” said Echono.
The TETFund Boss disclosed the board’s readiness to collaborate with the relevant agencies of the education sector especially, the Universal Basic Education Commission,UBEC, to ensure that Nigeria lays solid foundation in the basic education.
” The idea is that we believe in laying solid foundation because the quality of products we are admitting into our tertiary education will determine how much work we need to do at the level to produce, plan and nurture them to become future leaders of our country. So we will be able to make impact to the preparatory stage of our school, primary and secondary schools,” he said.
Speaking also, the Chairman TETFund Technical Advisory Group,TAG, Prof. O. Charles Aworh said regrettably, Nigeria is lagging in knowledge economy due to paucity in reading and reading materials, hence the need for research, reading books,and journals to gain knowledge.
Aworh said a lot has gone into improving infrastructure in the Nigerian tertiary institutions, adding that infrastructure alone without good academic contents will not ensure quality education.
He, however, assured of the quality of the ten TETFund- sponsored textbooks, saying that, the books are not only acceptable locally but globally.