The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TEFund) says the Federal Government has approved over N4.9 billion for Book Development Fund to revive academic publishing in tertiary institutions.
Dr Suleiman Bogoro, TETFund ‘s Executive Secretary (ES), disclosed this on Thursday at the third inaugural ceremony of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on book development fund in Abuja.
Bogoro said that there is critical paucity of indigenously produced tertiary level textbooks and related academic publications in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
“It is equally worrisome that quality of most academic publications in Nigeria leaves much to be desired.
“It is expected that nurturing the culture of quality authorship and production of indigenous books will ensure availability of recent books and safeguard national pride.
“It is true that foreign books are helpful but an indigenous book industry is needed to provide opportunities for the nation’s writers, thinkers and artists,” he said.
The executive secretary added that the gross insufficiency of standard tertiary level literature in our libraries and bookshops further underscore the urgent need that comes with targeted strategies to encourage indigenous authorship of textbooks for tertiary institutions.
He said that the project was inspired by the need to ensure adequate production and supply of locally developed academic texts, and in line with fund mandated by law.
“A seed grant of N2 billion was approved by the Board of Trustees for the Book Development Fund which is being utilised centrally for development of manuscripts and textbooks.
“Subsequently, an additional sum of N2.980 billion was added to the seed grant, which is making it N4,980,000,000.00 out of which N2,589,438,751.03 has been utilised for the intended purpose.
“The Book Development Fund intervenes in three interrelated areas, namely: Development and Publication of Academic Books as well as conversion of high quality thesis into book.
“Support for Professional Associations’ Journals and establishment as well as sustainability of Academic Publishing Centres (APCs),” he said.
The TETFund boss noted that there is ongoing construction of seven APCs at least one in a university in each of the six geo-political zones and Federal Capital Territory with the aim of reviving quality academic publishing in tertiary institutions.
According to him, the centres are to be fully equipped and staffed to provide all necessary pre-press support for the production of quality manuscripts and conversions of manuscripts into books.
“Out of the seven APCs that have been established across six geo-political zones and FCT, four centres are completed and commissioned.
“Others centres are at the various stages of completion, which are to be completed and commissioned by the end of 2019.
“We are expecting the inaugurated Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to advise the Fund on the sustainability of APCs and institutional arrangements for their management, among other guidelines,” he said.
He tasked the committee to turn things around by ensuring the harvest and publication of high quality tertiary level texts, especially tertiary education institutions.
Bogoro added that the expectation of the fund is that senior academics should be able to produce exceptional quality manuscripts for the academia and serve as mentors to young ones.
“The TAG inaugurated today comprises of eminent and a wide range of professionals drawn from within the academia and relevant stakeholders.
“We are very confident that given the quality range of expertise and experience of its members, the Higher Education Book Development programme will record a remarkable success,” he said.
Responding, Prof. Charles Aworh, the Chairman of TAG, commended TETFund boss, Chairman and all members of the TETFund board of trustees for the opportunity to serve the nation.
Aworh said that it is indeed an opportunity and a privilege to serve and that all the group accept the responsibility with humility and gives the assurance to work with loyalty and commitment, to discharge their responsibility and make sure everyone is engaged and motivated.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the TAG was created in 2010 by the fund to restore the culture of research and high quality academic publishing within the higher education sub-sector.
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