By Ngozi Nwankwo
Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund,TETFund, Arc Sonny Echono has said for Nigeria to achieve the desired progress as a knowledge-based economy, there must be a deliberate effort at bringing Research and Development to the center stage through relevant policy implementation.
Echono gave the charge recently while delivering a keynote lecture at the 18th Convocation ceremony of Enugu State University of Science and Technology,ESUT, in Enugu.
In the lecture titled ‘Education, Research and Human Development in Nigeria: The Challenges and Missing Link’, Arc. Echono x-rayed the lingering challenges of the Nation’s tertiary educational institutions and their inability to perform to expectations through viable researches that would lead to solutions to various human problems; stating that strengthening the Triple Helix Model, capacity building as well as focused funding of research would address the issues to a large extent.
He pointed out the major role of tertiary education through its institutions as that of manpower development or human capital, which involves the task of inculcating the skills, aptitude, attitude, knowledge, morals, values, creative ability, promotion of research and also contributing to the development of the host communities.
In achieving these roles, he said that there is the need for effective teaching and learning, research development culture.
“At the heart of the neglect and negligible impact of research in Nigeria’s national development efforts is the lack of clear-cut philosophy and goal for sustainable development of the Nigerian state. The conduct of research in the nation’s higher institutions has not been accorded the seriousness and attention it deserves.
“Poor research output is a natural consequence of the absence of infrastructural facilities. Conducting research requires a conducive atmosphere or environment. In many institutions, basic infrastructure such as laboratories, instruments and equipment, internet connectivity etc are either absent or dilapidated. Similarly, the capacity of academics across higher institutions in Nigeria to carry out meaningful research is lacking.
“Many universities, polytechnics and colleges of education lecturers lack the basic ability, skill and motivation to carry out standard research in many fields. They are equally handicapped to access any grants or research funds either within or outside their institutions due to lack of capacity.
“The situation is compounded by lack of credible and timely data, absence of legal frameworks for research, low uptake and implementation of research results, academic corruption including protracted supervision of postgraduate students and low computer literacy amongst scholars,” said Echono.
He explained that the missing link between education research and human capital development in Nigeria can be attributed to lack of effective interactions between the Academia (the University), Industry, and Government (the Triple Helix) to foster economic and social development, which contemporary globalised economies have embraced and applied to attain greatness through innovative.
“Nations that recognise and apply the Triple Helix Model that espouses synergy among academia/research institutions, industry and government in national development drive have the ability to and play active role in a knowledge driven economy.
Academia and industry must interface in a sustainable manner that produces goods and services for local consumption and export as well as guarantee human capital development,” he said.
The Executive Secretary expressed hope that with the recent drive by TETFund for Nigeria to embrace the triple helix model as the panacea for transforming research and education generally, research and development would soon get its place of pride accordingly.