Stakeholders propose transition of HND programme to BTech

Stakeholders in the Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) sector have proposed the transition of Higher National Diploma (HND) to Bachelor of Technology (BTech).

The stakeholders said this in Abuja on Tuesday at a One-Day National Dialogue on the Future of Higher National Diploma (HND) in the Nigerian educational landscape.

They also called on the Federal Government to assent to the bill which sought to remove the dichotomy between Bachelors degree and HND.

The Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education, Prof. Idris Bugaje said the dialogue was apt as it would foster an opportunity to address pressing issues that had persisted for decades.

‘Despite the pivotal role it plays, the HND qualification, earned after five years of rigorous study and internship, continues to face unwarranted discrimination within the Nigerian public service.

‘Even in the face of concerted efforts, including proposed legislation and appeals from students and staff unions, the discrimination again
st HND holders persists,’ he said.

Bugaje said that earlier this year, the Pharmaceutical Council of Nigeria (PCN) had highlighted a 22-year-old issue regarding HND Pharmacy Technology, which was effectively resolved by the Minister of State for Education.

Also, the President, Senior Staff Association of Nigerian Polytechnics, Philip Ogunsipe said the discrimination was basically a function of societal acceptance of HND.

Ogunsipe said for the problems to be solved, the discrimination should be taken care of in the bill before being assented into law.

‘Once the bill is assented to and the discrimination in the HND programme is resolved and finally passed into law, we will not have any challenge with this age long problem,’ he said.

Ogunsipe also explained that the polytechnics sector must think outside the box and find a way of having programmes exclusively run by polytechnics.

He urged the NBTE to strengthen its supervisory role saying that infrastructure in some polytechnics were in awful state and nee
ded urgent attention.

In the same vein, the Minister of State for Education, Dr Yusuf Sununu commended NBTE for taking the bull by the horns by bringing to national consciousness, the need to embrace the global movement for skills acquisition by HND holders.

Sununu expressed hope that the dialogue would come up with reasons that would not only change the age-long belief on the so- called superiority of other qualifications over HND.

He said it would also show that Nigeria, more than ever before needed HND holders for national development.

The President, Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Shammah Kpanja said the discrimination is not only on students or academics but affects the sector in its entirety.

Kpanja explained that if the polytechnics must be attractive, transition of HND to BTech must be welcomed.

He said that the Nigerian polytechnics must offer BTech strictly for HND students while also saying that the certificate must be specialised.

In the same vein, the Chairman, Federal Civil S
ervice Commission (FCSC), Prof. Tunji Olaopa said the sector must revisit the recommendations of the Conference of Heads of Polytechnics and Colleges of Education in 2017.

‘COHEADS recommended the conversation and upgrading of polytechnics to campuses of their consummate universities while the largest polytechnics in each of the geo-political zones be converted into full fledged universities of technology.

‘In so doing it will be a game changer and I believe to achieve the purpose, HND ought to be scrapped while the National Diploma should be retained as qualifying certificate for entrance into new and old university of technology,’ Olaopa said.

He added that this would help resolve the lingering professional war between BSC and HND without totally rendering and distorting their originating mandate.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria

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