Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) President, Bishop Francis Wale Oke wants the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) to support private polytechnics and universities in Nigeria.
The respected cleric, at the weekend, urged the Federal Government to review the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Establishment) Act of 2011.
Oke, the founder and Presiding Bishop of Christ Life Church, is Chancellor of Precious Cornerstone University in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He spoke on the role of faith-based schools in national transformation during the inaugural Archbishop Benson Idahosa Memorial Lecture at the Benson Idahosa University, Benin.
Oke said the institutions have become major drivers of economic advancement, with their products playing outstanding roles in the different sectors.
He mentioned Sola Akinlade and Ezra Olubi (Paystack); Babatunde Akin-Moses and Onyinye Okonji (Sycamore); Joshua Chibueze (Piggyvest), among others, as graduates of church-owned universities.
Oke insisted that the huge investment in human and material resources by owners created a more conducive teaching and learning environment as well as a stable academic calendar.
The bishop said this has been buttressed by reports of the accreditation exercises conducted by the National Universities Commission (NUC), recent Nigerian Law School results, etc.
He maintains that the TETFund mandate of rehabilitation, restoration and consolidation of tertiary education will be partially fulfilled if it continues to focus on government-owned polytechnics and universities.
“The same way private sector players in Banking, Aviation, Agriculture and other sectors have received different forms of support and funding, so should Education, which is a more critical sector
“The bulk of investors in tertiary education are social entrepreneurs, whose primary interest is not profit. They have, over time, developed a robust governance system that makes for greater accountability and transparency”, he said.
Oke lauded Benson Idahosa, the 3rd PFN President, for his foresight and investment in tertiary education as far back as 1978 when his university became the first to apply for NUC approval.
Last week, at the Wellspring University discourse on funding and future of education in Nigeria, ex-Anambra Governor, Peter Obi advised TETFund to extend interventions to private schools.