Nigerian Federal Government said it has budgeted N4.9 billion for Book Development Fund.
The allocation, it said, will restore the culture of research and high quality academic publishing within the higher education sub-sector in the country.
Executive Secretary of Tertiary Education Trust Fund, Prof Suleiman Bogoro, disclosed this during the inauguration of the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) on Book Development Fund in Abuja on Thursday.
The TAG is chaired by Prof. Charles Awo.
He said he was worried about the poor quality of most academic publications in Nigeria, saying this leaves much to be desired.
Bogoro lamented the paucity of indigenously produced tertiary level textbooks and related academic publications in the nation’s tertiary education institutions.
He said: “It is equally worrisome that the quality of most academic publications in our country leaves much to be desired.”
According to him, the Federal Government through TETFund, created the Book Development Fund Intervention with a seed grant of N2 billion as approved by the Board of Trustees of the Fund.
He added that an additional sum of N2.9 billion was added to the seed grant, making a total of N4,950,000,000.00, which is being used centrally for the development of manuscripts into textbooks.
He noted that out of this figure, N2.5 billion has been utilised for the intended purpose, explaining that the Book Development Fund intervenes in three key areas namely: “development and publication of academic books as well as conversion of high quality thesis into book.
He said there was ongoing construction of seven publishing centres in at least one university in each of the six geopolitical zones and Federal Capital Territory with the aim of reviving quality academic publishing in tertiary institutions.
According to him: “It is expected that nurturing the culture of quality authorship and the production of indigenous books will not only ensure the availability of relevant books in diverse subject areas that take cognizance of our local environment and sensibilities, it would also safeguard national pride.
“While it true foreign books are helpful, an indigenous book industry is needed to provide opportunities for nation’s writers and artists.
“The gross insufficiency of standard tertiary level literature in our libraries and bookshops further underscore the urgent need to come up with targeted strategies to encourage production of textbooks for tertiary education institutions.”
The terms of reference of the Technical Advisory Group include harvesting doctorate theses and master’s dissertation from across beneficiary institutions for possible conversion into book.
The Group was also mandated to screen proposals on manuscripts and these/dissertation for development into academic textbooks and advise TETFund on fundable manuscripts among others.