The Federal Government on Tuesday moved to end the dominance of foreign publications in the nation’s higher education institutions as it unveiled 10 new textbooks sponsored by the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
Speaking at the public presentation of the books in Abuja, Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu, said the dependent on foreign academic publications portends great danger to the nation’s education sector, adding that boosting indigenous authorship would address the problem.
“The paucity of indigenously authored and produced tertiary level textbooks and related academic publications in the nation’s tertiary education institutions is a known fact overtime. Nigeria’s tertiary education institutions 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, ” Adamu, represented by Minister of State for Education, Goodluck Nana Opiah, said.
While commending TETFund for establishing the Higher Education Book Development project to tackle scarcity of tertiary level textbooks which has before now reached a crisis proportion, the minister hailed the Fund for putting in place the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) whose mandate includes collaboratively working with the agency to ensure quality books are churned out by Nigerian authors.
“TETFund Book Development Fund intervenes in the three key areas of publication of academic books and the conversion of high-quality theses into books, support for Professional Association Journals, and establishment and sustamability of Academic Publishing Centres (APCs).
“It is worthy of note that so far seventy-seven manuscripts have passed through rigorous review processes by distinguished scholars and are ready for publication as books. I want to assure this gathering that an additional thirty books would be presented before the end of this year under TETFund sponsorship programme.
“It will be of interest to note that over 60 percent of these books are to be published by the Academic Publishing Centres (APCs)
established by TETFund,” the minister said.
Also speaking at the event, Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny Echono, who expressed delight over the quality of the 10 books, said additional 30 books sponsored by the Fund would be unveiled before the end of the year even as he assured of the readiness of the agency to sponsor production of 50 textbooks in 2023.
“We have over 66 manuscripts, What we are unveiling today were published by only one publisher (one printing press) ….. , by the time we unveil the remaining 30 in December, you are going to see all the authors cut across the three layers of our tertiary education institutions, ” Echono said.
The TETFund boss also revealed that the Fund has provided support to ensure all the Academic Publishing Centres in the country become fully operational.
” There are seven of them across the country, when we came in March only University of Lagos academic publishing centre was fully functional and running, a few of them had little issues, some equipment, other contractual issues, we have resolved all of them now.
“Four has been completed since the last few months and the remaining we hope to finish by the end of September. The issue of operationalising them, making them self-sustaining is the debate we are having currently because we want them to run as business enterprise and trying to create balance by focusing on academic publishing and being able to sustain themselves,” he said.
On his part, Chairman of TETFund TAG, Professor Charles Aworh, said 20 TETFund sponsored textbooks were published in 2014 on different fields with wide acceptance from within and outside the country, adding that three of the 10 new books unveiled today were from PhD theses.
He, however, called for more empowerment of the nation’s publishing centres.
“We are on course to publish 40 books before the end of the year but the only challenge is the capacity of our universities to publish. Authors are ready to publish, manuscripts are ready,” Aworh said.
High point of the event, which also attracted authors, academic staff unions and heads of education agencies, among others, was the public presentation of the TETFund sponsored books which include ;1.Principles of Veterinary Surgery :A Concise Text for Veterinary Students 2. Fundamental of Chemistry 3.Fundamental of Public Finance 4.Java for Beginners and Web Design and 5. Programming for Beginners.
Others are 6.The Comparative Method and Civil – Military Relations 7.Fluid Mechanics and Hydraulics for Engineers 8. A Guide to Teacher Competence Evaluation 9. Financial Deepening and Economic Growth in Nigeria and 10. Motivational Factors and Teachers Efficiency in Secondary Schools.