FG to construct student hostels in 36 tertiary institutions

The Federal Government has announced plans to establish student hostels in 36 academic schools across Nigeria, with a promise to build more after the initial set is ready.

Sonny Echono, Executive Secretary of the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), made the announcement during a meeting with the new leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), led by President Lucky Emonefe.

According to a statement issued on Wednesday by TETFund’s Director of Public Affairs, AbdulMumin Oniyangi, Echono noted that the 2024 intervention cycle includes enhanced funding for the upkeep of TETFund infrastructures older than five years.

He also promised to address the state of the NANS secretariat and incorporate the students’ body for joint monitoring of projects in beneficiary institutions.

Acknowledging the housing challenges faced by students in higher institutions, Echono stated that the government has initiated a policy to ensure that 50 to 60 per cent of students live on campus, aiming to provide solid buildings that can compare with international standards.

“As I speak, this year, we shall be providing hostels for students in 36 tertiary institutions across the country.

“We realise that some of the places where our students live are very deplorable. And only about 15 percent of our students are staying on campus. Many of them are living outside campus, and some of them can’t even come back for evening lectures because of the cost and the trouble of walking all the way and coming back. There is also a security situation in their areas.

“So we have a policy to ensure that as much as possible, we will do the minimum of 50 to 60 percent of our students to live on campus. And provide those hostels. And those hostels will not be match boxes and shanties.

“They will be solid buildings that can attract other students from anywhere in the world to compare with what other people enjoy when they leave Nigeria,” Echono stated.

He urged students to leverage TETFund’s digital services platform, the Tertiary Education Research, Applications, and Services, to access educational resources and research materials.

According to him, other services such as sponsored mobile internet access, EagleScan for plagiarism checking, aggregated journal and research subscription inclusive of EBSCO, Blackboard Learning Management System, digital literacy, and intervention funding, are available to both public and private tertiary institutions in the country.

“We will continue to support NANS, partner with NANS because there is no doubt that any policy, programme, project that you want to do in the education sector, students must be at the centre of it. Higher institutions exist because of students,” he added.

Emonefe, the NANS President, commended TETFund’s budget for 2024 and the new Students’ Loan Bill before the National Assembly.

He praised President Bola Tinubu for his commitment to education and thanked Echono for supporting the bill at a recent public hearing.

Emonefe said: “We are not going to relent. We are going to complement your efforts to ensure that these gigantic projects that TETFund is ensuring in our tertiary institutions.

“On our part, we are going to monitor, supervise, and protect education infrastructure to complement the efforts of what Mr. President and TETFund is doing.”

Senator Ned Nwoko, a member of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFund, and lawmaker representing Delta North Senatorial District, also attended the event, pledging the committee’s support for Nigerian students.