A Bill for an Act to Abolish, Prohibit Dichotomy and Discrimination between first Degree and Higher National Diploma (HND) in the same Profession/Field and Related Matters 2014 (S.B. 433) scaled through second reading on the floor of the Senate during Wednesday’s plenary session. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Ayo Akinyelure. Leading the debate, Sen Akinyelure said the main focus of the bill is to address the controversies and disparities between first Degree and Higher National Diploma holders. He disclosed that due to discrimination, thousands of Polytechnic students have opted for University Degree programmes. He stressed that the disparity infringes negatively on the career progression of HND holders in the public and private sectors. Sen. Akinyelure said the bill sought to address six sections of the legislation and called on the National Council on Employment to bring first Degree and HND at par with one another in both public and private sectors. The Senator added that the disparity was a creation of some few people in the public service. He stated that the passage of the bill has no financial implication on the nation and urged his colleagues to support it. Contributing to debate, Sen. Ahmed Lawan Ibrahim stated that this is one area of the country’s education system that requires a holistic reform, stressing that the dichotomy between first Degree and HND holders is counter-productive and it is more prominent in public service. He added that there is the need to streamline the disparity and discrimination between the two and resolve the issue in the interest of the nation’s development especially in the actualization of vision 20-20. Lending his voice to the debate, Sen. Abubakar Atiku Bagudu noted that the structure of the nation’s educational system created the differences between first Degree and HND. He said the educational system was originally designed in such a way that the University system would produce theoretical experts in some fields while the Polytechnic was expected to produce technical experts that are more grounded in practical aspect of some professional careers. He added that if the legislature is to abolish the disparity, then it is also expedient that Senators consider educational programmes that would be run by the Polytechnics. Other Senators who contributed to the debate include Sen. Emmanuel Paulker, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, Sen. Ita Enang, Sen. Chris Ngige, Sen. Bernabas Gemade, Sen. Alkali Jajere, Sen. Osarieme Ehigie Uzamere, Sen. Sunny Ogboji and Sen. Umaru Dahiru. The bill struggled to scale second reading due to the stiff opposition it encountered when it was put to question by the Senate President, David Mark. The Senate President said right from the onset, there are differences in the entry benchmark and the problem is not about the product of the Polytechnics but it is fundamental. He added that basically, HND cannot be equated with first Degree which the bill intends to address. But there could be arrangement where these institutions could be converted to degree awarding institutions. Sen. Mark added that the bill’s public hearing would provide professional advice to the legislature in taking a firm position on the bill. It has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education to report back in four weeks.

  • 2014-10-25 15:15:34