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UK college not seeking TETFUND’s funding support to set up medical university -Fayemi

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UK college not seeking TETFUND’s funding support to set up medical university -Fayemi

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has also denied any report that the College was seeking financial support.

By Qosim Suleiman

The Kings College, London, is not seeking financial support from any public institution in Nigeria for its planned establishment of a medical school in the country, a visiting professor of the university, Kayode Fayemi, said.

“It is important to clarify that King’s College London is not seeking funds from any public institution in Nigeria,” Mr Fayemi, a former governor of Ekiti State, wrote in a commentary he shared with PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday.

The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) has also denied any report that the College was seeking financial support.

King College, TETFund partnership

Last week, the Deputy Vice President of the London-based College, Helen Bailey, led a delegation to the Executive Secretary of TETFund, Sonny Echono, in Abuja.

At the meeting, Ms Bailey sought TETFund’s collaboration, even as she disclosed the school’s existing partnership with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) to establish a medical school in Abuja.

Ms Bailey was also reported to have said the College was fully ready to collaborate with TETFund and other relevant government bodies to achieve the desired goal.

Allegation

However, days after the officials’ visit to TETFund, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), was reported to have opposed the use of public funds to help Kings College establish a medical college in Nigeria.

“As if the abuse and violation of TETFUND by the government are not enough, our union has further noted reports in the media, not refuted, of TETFund’s intention to help Kings College, London to establish a medical school in Nigeria in the name of partnership,” the ASUU Lagos Zone Coordinator, Adelaja Odukoya, was quoted as saying.

“We urge the leadership of the Fund to provide a further update on this proposed course of action, and allay fears that it is contemplating funds meant for the development of Nigerian institutions for the development of foreign ones.”

Partnership not financial

But both the Kings College and TETFund have confirmed to this newspaper that the partnership was limited to areas of research.

“There was no such request for financial support by Kings College nor were there suggestions of such from TETFund. Rather it was in the area of Research in medical sciences by our benefiting institutions,” the spokesperson for TETFund, Abdulmumin Oniyangi, wrote on Thursday in response to a request for clarification.

“It is important to clarify that King’s College London is not seeking funds from any public institution in Nigeria,” Mr Fayemi said.

Kings College, Afrexim Medical College

Mr Fayemi noted that the Kings College delegation was in Nigeria to further a partnership with Afrexim Bank.

Last year, the College established a partnership with the bank to undertake a feasibility study in support of the development of the Africa Centres of Medical Excellence (ACME).

Both parties also entered an arrangement to build a medical school at the same facility in Abuja, “so that African students who desire to get first-class medical, nursing and other expertise and training will be trained in that facility.”

The first ACME, which is being established in Abuja with the aim of providing outstanding patient care, education and research is what brought the King’s College team to Abuja last week, he said.

He said the Afrexim Bank President, Benedict Oramah, after receiving treatment at the hospital and an engagement with Ghulam Mufti, a professor at the hospital, sought the collaboration to build similar facilities in Africa.

“He is leading the development of a 500-bed medical facility in Abuja,” he said, adding that it is a joint project between Afrexim and King’s College Hospital London as lead partner, among several others, including the University of Wisconsin Teaching Hospital.

He further stated that the university has a long-standing history of partnering with institutions and individuals around the world who share a commitment to driving societal change through education and research.

Mr Fayemi listed some of the institution’s initiatives in Nigeria including ‘a longstanding partnership’ with the Nigerian Army Resource Centre to deliver strategic leadership training, drawing on expertise from King’s School of Security Studies and King’s African Leadership Centre.

He said: “More recently, we have been working with Nigerian educationist and philanthropist, Aare Afe Babalola, who has partnered with King’s College to establish the Afe Babalola Centre (ABC) for Transnational Education.

Mr Fayemi added: “The centre arose from a shared commitment to providing more young Africans with access to the transforming potential of education and training. While our partnerships through this Centre are diverse, they are underpinned by an institutional commitment to equity and co-creation – ensuring that African-led thought is central to the design and implementation of new programmes and activities.”

“Health is a dominant and unifying theme at King’s College London, which is internationally recognised for excellence in biomedical and health research and education. As a result, we are regularly approached by international partners who are interested in this area of the university’s expertise. Investing in the health workforce is critical to assuring the long-term health security of the continent, and training the next generation of educators and healthcare professionals has consistently been cited as a priority by our African partners.” ( PREMIUM TIMES)

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