Senate Seeks Stakeholders’ Views OnDegree-HND Dichotomy

Senate President David Mark has advised
that the Bill for an Act to Abolish and
Prohibit Dichotomy and Discrimination
between First Degrees and Higher National
Diploma in the same Profession/Field and
related matters be sent for public hearing.
Mark said this was in order to get the views
of relevant stakeholders on the way forward,
as he admitted that it would be difficult for
the lawmakers to legislate on the matter.
The Bill however scaled the second reading
in the Senate on Wednesday after a heated
debate on its relevance.
“The problem here is whether we can
legislate on this. I think obviously that is not
going to work for several reasons that we
have all advanced here,” Mark said.
“We can’t legislate here and say you must
employ an HND instead of employing
somebody with B.SC.
“I think it is more of attitude than what we
can legislate on but we can get an
arrangement where the polytechnics begin to
award degrees, in which case the
polytechnics will no more be polytechnics;
they will be universities,” the Senate
President said.
“Our attempt really to equate HND to a
degree is not likely to work. Nobody who has
done a degree has gone back to the
polytechnic to do HND and you can’t blame
that logic.
“The whole essence of allowing the bill to go
through second reading and public reading is
for us to get more ideas about how to get
the way forward.
“That will be the only benefit that will come
out it,” he said.
The lawmakers sought to resolve controversy
over wage disparity and gross discrimination
against HND holder in public and private
sectors of the economy, with the lead debate,
presented by Sen. Patrick Akinyelure (PDP-
Ondo), highlighting the need to abolish the
discrimination.
Akinyelure said that findings had proven that
some polytechnic graduates were in some
cases better on the field than their university
counterparts.
“To all intents and purposes, a government
employment policy that places degree
holders ahead of HND holders without
recourse to skill and ability of the HND
holder thereof does more harm than good to
the nation’s development plans.
“Therefore, the aim of the bill is to promote
the technological advancement of our great
nation by encouraging many qualified
candidates to pursue polytechnic and
technological advancement,” he said.
The Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike
Ekweremadu,in his comment, noted that even
if the bill did not succeed, it would help to
raise awareness on the dysfunctional nature
of the country’s educational system.
He decried the growing trend where
polytechnics offered courses outside their
field, adding that in order to correct the
abnormally, all polytechnics should be
converted to degree awarding institutions.
“All we need now is to expand the knowledge
base of our polytechnics, increase entry
qualification and employ qualified teachers
for the polytechnics.
“We should then make conscious effort to set
up technical schools that would award only
diploma to support our industries and help
the system industrially.
“To say we will abolish the dichotomy is
difficult. The committee to handle the bill
should invite experts to look into
harmonising the institutions,’’ he said.

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