By Funmilayo Adeyemi
Prof. Idris Bugaje, the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), has urged the Federal Government to scrap the Higher National Diploma (HND) in the Polytechnics if the government would not remove the dichotomy between HND and BSc.
Bugaje disclosed this during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on issues around its HND top-up programmes.
He noted that the discrimination against HND holders was uncalled for as it usually prevents the holders from attaining the highest directorate level in the public service.
According to him, the HND-BSc dichotomy is a colonial syndrome and it is unfortunate that Nigeria is yet to get out of this syndrome.
He added that the Board had written to convince the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Federal Ministry of Education to allow HND holders to go straight for two year Masters programme.
He said that the letter had however not seen the light of the day.
“Basically, what brought the top-up programme was the discrimination that we have endured over the past decades against HND holders, who for no fault of theirs ,shown nationalism by even coming to the Polytechnics to learn skills.
“HND is equivalent all over the world to a first degree, yet Nigerians are discriminating against HND holders, they are not allowed to reach the highest directorate level in the public service.
“Their progression is being attenuated over the years. When they want to convert, they are asked to step down to a lower level for no cause of theirs simply because they have not presented a BSc.
“So we felt, which is the way out and currently there has to be PGD, but PGD is not the best for HND holders because anytime they want to take employment in a University even after their Doctorate, they will still ask them to present their first degree,” he said.
The executive secretary explained that the Board copied foreign models to assist HND holders in attaining managerial positions.
He said that the first degree should not be used as the only yardstick for progression in academia adding that encouraging skills was a way to go if a country must grow and develop.
“So NBTE therefore looked at the best global practices, we have discovered what is happening in Ghana, South Africa, the European Union and Asia.
“What we discovered is the best option for Nigerian HND by taking the holders through a one-year top-up which will allow them to acquire BSc.
“By doing this, in theory, they have BSc and in practice they have HND and whenever you give them any assignment, they will perform more than anybody else.
“So that is the purpose to allow them to progress because all efforts to bring sanity to the system had failed. And I am of the opinion that if the federal government doesn’t want to remove this dichotomy, let the Federal Government scrap the HND as done in Ghana,” he added.
Bugaje suggested adopting the South African model in such a way that after the HND programme, the holder seeking academic career, can proceed to a one-year Bachelors top-up rather than the PGD before the Master’s degree. (NAN)