FirstBank: Supporting research through education endowment programme




FirstBank Education Endowment Programme has helped to some extent, in the development of research projects in the nation’s universities. AMAKA IFEAKANDU looks at the impact of the programme on the students and tertiary institutions in general.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial service provider has maintained its top position in providing funds for financing of research projects in the nation’s higher institutions of learning.

The bank introduced education endowment programme 28 years ago in the nation’s federal universities  to enable undergraduate students acquire more knowledge, skill and build their ideas and opinions on  research project.

Research is one of the aspects of learning that help to expand the knowledge base of a researcher. 

Apart from helping in unlocking the unknown, it offers opportunities for researchers to explore the world from different perspective and have deeper ideas and understanding concerning the issue at hand.

The process of research opens up new opportunities and growth of an organisation and economy at large.

Education endowment programme

FirstBank instituted education endowment programme (EEP) in 1994 to fund research projects in federal universities selected around the six geographical regions of the country.

The bank’s endowment programme is designed to be permanently restricted. This is to ensure that the seed funds or principal sum established in different schools must be held in perpetuity and cannot be spent but should be aimed at generating income to fund the different projects and meet the objectives.  

To efficiently actualise the objectives, the programme is governed by a board of trustees in each school consisting of a chairman who is Vice Chancellor; members from the various universities and the bank. The programme is structured to provide an annual research grant; annual public presentation of research findings and annual award for the three best graduating students in the particular field of focus. The programme is most active in Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA) where it has consistently continued its commitment to the goal of meritorious contribution to knowledge through research activities in the communication and technology sector.

Objectives  

The bank’s endowment programme was set to to enhance the overall academic excellence through research. It was also introduced to complement the federal government’s efforts in the development and advancement of   tertiary education in Nigeria. 

Apart from helping in  strengthening  the bank’s corporate responsibility & sustainability strategic approach through its education strategic pillar, the programme also aims at  contributing to the building and reinforcement of the First Bank brand value proposition.

Selected Institutions

The FirstBank endowment programme is dedicated to enhancing academic excellence geared towards a long-term development of Nigeria. The programme is planned towards  empowering the youth through education. Available report shows that currently, they have Professorial Chairs in ten selected  Nigerian universities, with the total endowments worth over N440 million. Some of the universities and endowed academic fields include: University of Lagos – Business Ethics; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka – banking and finance; University of Agriculture, Makurdi – agronomy;  FUTA – computer science, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University – Engineering Technology, University of Benin -Computer Science, University of Maiduguri – Water Resources Engineering, University of Uyo – Petroleum Engineering, Usman Dam Fodio University Sokoto- Veterinary Medicine and Bayero University Kano- Pediatrics.

Importance of research

No matter the level of  individual’s  experience in life, there is need for one to learn and acquire more knowledge on daily basis.

Research encourages people to find the most recent information available in certain fields. Staying updated prevents individuals, companies from falling behind and giving information that’s inaccurate or doesn’t paint the whole picture of the issue at hand. With the latest information, one will be better equipped to talk about a subject and build on ideas.

 Conducting research gives one a solid foundation on which individual or group can build  ideas and opinions. It  builds discerning and analytical skills and enables researcher to speak with confidence proving that what he/she knows is accurate.

Also, the research process brings curiosity and once individual is  committed to learning, it  always puts the person in a place of growth. Further studies show that curiosity is associated with higher levels of positivity, better satisfaction with life, and lower anxiety.  Apart from using research  to raise awareness of issues like climate change, racial discrimination, gender inequality, and more, it entails going beyond the raw data and sharing real-life stories that have a more personal impact on people. 

Beyond these, research places researcher on the process of learning, gaining new skills, knowledge, understanding, and values. The process of researching enables one to learn new things as learning impacts more than just knowledge and skills, but transmits the values, attitudes and behaviours individuals have decided to share. 

So, engaging in research is a base upon which the whole building of human development stands. Getting proper knowledge is necessary for success in life just like the food is important for the healthy human body. Apart from promoting equality of prospect, research is a central cohesive source of support and stability in the development of countries. There is need for developing countries like Nigeria to engage more on research and also focus on the development of high-value educational system,  because  both of them work effectively for sustainable development of the economy as well as society. 

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