Morgan State University (MSU) President David K. Wilson has announced a new educational collaboration with the Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), a fiduciary and funding agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The five-year agreement with TETFund will create a pathway for international students to study in the U.S. and pursue a Morgan degree, by sponsoring cohorts of eligible and admitted graduate students from public tertiary institutions in Nigeria who will be enrolled in Morgan Ph.D. programs, in addition to cohorts of postdoctoral researchers from public tertiary institutions in Nigeria who will conduct research at Morgan. The agreement could bring up to 50 (no less than 30) new Ph.D. students and up to 20 postdoctoral researchers to campus each year.
The Morgan State University Board of Regents voted unanimously to approve the memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the TETFund during the board’s spring quarterly meeting, held on May 5. The university is preparing to welcome the first cohort of students during the fall 2020 semester.
“This is an historic collaboration for Morgan State University, possibly the largest such agreement of its kind between an African nation and an American institution of higher education,” said Dr. Wilson. “Through our arrangement with the TETFund, not only will Morgan greatly enhance its standing as a high research university, but the resulting research could be globally beneficial. Morgan provides a world-class education, and we are appreciative of being given this opportunity to work in partnership with Nigeria to produce intellectual capital capable of advancing the nation toward its goals. This partnership also helps fulfill Morgan’s global aspirations while strengthening our relationships on the African continent.”
Through the partnership, a framework is being created in which early, mid-level and senior career faculty and staff members from Nigeria’s 238 public universities, colleges of education and polytechnics can pursue their Ph.Ds. and postdoctoral research at Morgan in fields and disciplines relevant to the developmental needs of Nigeria. Toward this end, TETFund will provide the funding, via scholarships and other grants, to support the educational expenses (tuition/fees + living expenses) of Ph.D. students and the salary plus living expenses of postdoctoral students. The agreement also calls for TETFund’s establishment of Centers of Excellence in Nigeria that will engage in collaborative research with Morgan.
“We are glad to secure a worthy partnership with Morgan State University through the recently signed MOU that reflects a new paradigm in TETFund geared towards content development of more than 220 public (federal- and state-owned) tertiary educational institutions in Nigeria. These institutions are the direct beneficiaries of TETFund intervention lines, being academic staff training and development, R&D as well as the upcoming TETFund Centers of Excellence,” said Professor Suleiman E. Bogoro, Executive Secretary of TETFund. “We appreciate the mutual respect and understanding between the leadership of both institutions in making this historic and special agreement a reality. We look forward to the future of shared opportunities between TETFund and Morgan towards meeting the human capital development, exchange programs, infrastructure and overall economic development aspirations of Nigeria and the USA.”
For the past three years, Morgan has been exploring potential relationship opportunities with Nigeria. Nigeria now stands as the third-ranking country of origin in number of international students enrolled at Morgan. With a population of more than 200 million, Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa as well as the largest economy based on GDP. Nigeria tops all African countries in the number of students it sends to the U.S., approximately 12,000 per year, a number that is equivalent to 30 percent of all students from Africa and that ranks it 12th in the world among countries of origin of international students here.
“This historic agreement signed by two visionary leaders laid the foundation for a collaboration that will facilitate human capacity building and knowledge sharing,” said Yacob Astatke, D.Eng., Morgan’s assistant vice president for the Division of International Affairs. “This strategic partnership will definitely make a lasting positive impact on both institutions and both nations for decades to come.”
TETFund is the foremost public tertiary education funding and intervention agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria. It came into being as Education Trust (previously, Tax) Fund (ETF) in 1993, following the signing of an historic agreement between Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Military Government in 1992. The main objective was to create a non-budgetary funding window for Nigerian universities which were considered to be acutely underfunded. The ETF Act was amended in 1998, and later renamed Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) in 2011, when its focus changed to intervention into exclusively public tertiary institutions, and by its specific mandate, universities, polytechnics and colleges of education owned by federal and state governments. Today, TETFund is a model tertiary education funding agency that is being copied by many African countries. Besides the provision of physical infrastructure such as offices, laboratories and lecture halls, the most notable recent intervention lines are research, journals production, academic staff training and development, book manuscript development, library development and support for international conference attendance. With the recent added emphasis on R&D, TETFund’s focus is mainly on deepening research. Equally important, TETFund, along with the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the industry, are championing the aggressive drive towards operationalization of the Triple Helix model that demonstrates the indispensable partnership of academia, industry and government towards realization of Nigeria’s sustainable knowledge economy in the 21st century. For more on TETFund, please visit our website: www.tetfund.gov.ng.
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution offering more than 126 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit www.morgan.edu.