How tertiary institutions can attract grants, endowments —Semenitari, NDDC chief

UNIVERSITIES and other tertiary institutions have been advised to set up non-profit, wholly-owned subsidiaries to manage their endowment, and seek potential donors and possible areas of interest that could attract research funding.

The advice was given last Thursday August 4, 2016 by the acting managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, at the Registry 8th Annual Lecture of the Federal University of Technology Akure, FUTA.

She spoke on the title, ‘Endowments, Grants and Corporate Social Responsibility as Funding Options for Tertiary and Research Institutions in Nigeria’.

Semenitari admonished Nigerian universities to collaborate with other institutions to help grow the pool of endowments and grant funds available to them.

While emphasizing the fact that government cannot shoulder education funding alone, she said Nigerian universities can attract funds through endowment, partnership with the private sector, and wealthy individuals who have integrity, among others.

She also encouraged Universities to engage in critical alumni relations that will attract “give back” from their products. Alumni of universities, she said, have important roles to play in funding their alma mater if given the opportunity.

Speaking on the importance of endowment to universities and how Nigerian universities compare with their peers globally, Semenitari said that Nigerian higher institutions have not explored the huge potential in the sector like their foreign counterparts, and urged universities to expand their research and educational frontiers in order to raise interest of potential donors.

Speaking on the role of the NDDC in developing manpower and infrastructure in universities, she said “the NDDC runs a robust educational directorate that focuses on appropriate and sustainable manpower development.

“Currently, the commission is constructing students’ hostels as part of its regional projects across the nine mandate states. We don’t only build but also equip and handover to beneficiary institutions. The objective is to save the schools from that burden, thereby freeing scarce resources for other pressing needs while as the same time creating an enabling scholarly environment for students.”

On the hostel accommodation under construction as FUTA, the NDDC chief promised a speedy completion, saying “let me assure you that the commission is earnestly taking steps to address the issue of abandonment of the project with the contractor, and we will get on with it without further delay.”

On funding of higher education in Nigeria, the chairman at the occasion and vice chancellor, Professor Adebiyi Daramola, who was represented by the deputy vice chancellor (academics), Professor Olatunde Arayela, said “the economic reality staring us in the face in our dear country has shown that stakeholders in education sector need to devise creative ways of finding alternative funding for education.

“The survival of this sector is a challenge to all of us”.

“Higher educational institutions can only impact positively on the society when its tripod functions of teaching, research and community service are properly funded.  Therefore, the call for increasing contribution through grants, endowment and corporate social responsibilities by public spirited individuals, corporate organisations and members of the alumni association has become inevitable to ensure quality education and production of globally competitive graduates in Nigeria.”