In continuation of efforts by the Federal Government to address the paucity of locally published textbooks in the country, the Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu has again unveiled 50 new books published by Nigerian authors under the Book Development Programme of Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund).
Performing the public presentation of the books at the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja recently, the Minister who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Rt. Hon. Goodluck Nanah Opiah noted that over time, tertiary educational institutions in the country had become dependent on books published outside Nigeria with attendant consequences such as unfavourable foreign exchange rate.
He, therefore, expressed confidence that the new textbooks will put an end to the predominance of foreign academic materials in the country’s educational institutions.
However, the Minister expressed concern that the quality of most academic publications in the country left much to be desired.
“It is equally worrisome that the quality of most academic publications in our country leaves much to be desired. It is, therefore, expected that nourishing 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 taking cognizance of our local environment and sensitivities, but will also safeguard national pride and reduce the demand for foreign exchange,” he said.
Malam Adamu also charged TETFund and authors to also produce books in the Nation’s indigenous languages in line with the recently approved National Language policy.
“I also charge TETFund and the academia to go beyond publishing in English language to promoting authorship in our local languages in line with the recently approved National Language policy,” he said.
Speaking at the event, the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Arc. Sonny S. T. Echono commended the TETFund Technical Advisory Group on Book Development (TAG), authors and others who contributed to the publication of the books.
Arc. Echono announced that the books would be distributed to libraries of tertiary institutions at no cost and only subsequent publications would be paid for by students and others.
While stating that the Fund has set a minimum target of 50 textbooks yearly for publication, he added that digital copies of the works would be made available.
“We are digitizing our thesis and records and through that ecosystem, you are going to have digital copies of these materials. All we are going to do now is to ensure we protect the authors’ intellectual property rights and once that is done, they are going to be available on the internet,” he said.
Also speaking, the Chairman of TAG, Prof. Charles Aworh noted that 40 of the 50 textbooks were published by Academic Publishing Centres established by TETFund.
“We are witnessing today the realization of an important goal of the TETFund Higher Education Book Development Intervention Project which is reviving academic publishing in Nigeria’s tertiary education institutions.
“I should add that among the 50 titles of academic books being presented to the public today, three are from PhD theses of our young academics that have been converted to books. Twelve are multi-authored basic or fundamental texts commissioned by TETFund and written by some of our best intellectuals in the academia, private sector and government agencies,” he said.
“These books, though international in outlook, are written bearing in mind our peculiarities and local needs and with practical examples that reflect familiar realities and experiences that our students can identify with. Forty-three of such books in diverse subject areas, identified by a needs assessment, ranging from History, Women and Gender, Literature in English, Communication and Media, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology. Software Engineering, Materials Engineering, Medicine, Veterinary Surgery. Agricultural Economics, Political Science, Nigerian Legal System, Special Needs Education and Rehabilitation Sciences to Pension Systems, Actuarial Science, Modelling and Simulation, Bioinformatics and Artificial Intelligence have been commissioned by TETFund and twenty-nine have so far been completed”.
Present at the event were the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. David Adejo; Executive Secretary, National Commission for Colleges of Education, Prof. Paulinus Okwelle; President, Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), Prof. Emmanuel Osodeke; President Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Dr. Anderson Ezeibe; President, Colleges of Education Academic Staff Union (COEASU), Dr. Smart Olugbeko; Heads of Beneficiary Institutions of TETFund and other key players in the Education Sector.