By Marcus Ikechukwu
Arc. Sonny Echono, Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), bemoaned the dearth of quality research in Nigeria, saying it’s at the core of why meaningful development has eluded the country.
According to him, neglecting the impact of research on Nigeria’s national development dynamics is a result of clear-cut philosophy and goal for sustainable development of the country.
He noted that the conduct of research in the nation’s higher institutions had not been accorded the seriousness and attention it deserved, hence poor output.
Arc Echono gave the charge 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’, the TETFund Boss said, “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, and internet connectivity are either absent or dilapidated. Similarly, academics across higher institutions in Nigeria lack the capacity to carry out meaningful research.
He lamented that many universities, polytechnics and colleges of education lecturers lack the basic ability, skill and motivation to carry out standard research in many fields. Hence they are equally handicapped to access any grants or research funds within or outside their institutions due to a 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,” Arc. Echono lamented.
He explained that the missing link between education research and human capital development in Nigeria could be attributed to a 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 an 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”
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.