The federal government's recent approval of N2billion for the publication of journals in Nigerian universities through the Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, is a laudable step. It will boost reading and writing culture among the country's academics, especially when viewed against the preponderance of low-quality academic and professional journals flying all over the country.
A nation that is aspiring to be among the world's best should not relegate education and the quest for knowledge to the basement in its scale of preference. The financing, supervising and management of the education sector should not be toyed with. Books and top-flight academic journals in the nation's higher institutions must not be in short supply.
Prof Ruqayyatu Ahmed Rufa'i, Nigeria's minister of education, was right on track when she said at the presentation of some of the journals to universities during a TETFund programme entitled "Library Development for Nigerian Universities" that the scheme was imperative in order to boost the national book development fund so that Nigerian scholars would be encouraged to conduct research and publish journals of international repute which could be used as reference material in higher institutions.
The minister pledged that there would be a steady income from the federal government in order to make the programme flourish, adding that copies of the published journals would be presented to all vice chancellors, rectors and provosts for onward presentation to their various institutions. The programme, she said, must include the nine new universities.
The revelation that N5billion had already been approved for each of 52 associations involved in the programme in order to improve the quality of their journals and their viability on the internet is praiseworthy. We share the federal government's commitment to the provision of academic and professional journals. A country's educational attainment cannot be divorced from the writing ability of its scholars. Education is indeed reading, writing and communicating.
We urge the federal government to keep its words in making funds available on a regular basis to finance the programme.
However, it is not all about the publication itself but its worth to industry and community. A research that adds no value to its intended audience and therefore contributes no change in the environment and society may as well not be. So all those concerned should be true to scholarship by applying best practices in their conduct of research with the goal and objective to develop society.