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NBTE explains need to keep HND, degree holders at par

THE Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Bugaje said that the need to curtail the suffering of higher national diploma (HND) holders is behind the initiative of removing the dichotomy between them and bachelor degrees.

In an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Bugaje explained that the board’s HND to a bachelor’s degree Top Up programme, was designed to facilitate career and academic progression of HND holders.

According to NAN, applications for the NBTE one-year top up programme, can be assessed through: https://topup.nbte.gov.ng, to convert HND certificate to a bachelor’s degree.

The executive secretary said that HND represents the best products of the Polytechnic system, and there is the need for them to progress and study for masters’ degree and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree.

He noted: “Unfortunately, up to today, a HND holder is not allowed to proceed for a master’s degree directly.”

While countries like Portugal and some other European countries, allowed the progression, “in South Africa and other places, HND holders are given a route – one additional year for Bachelor of Technology (B.Tech.) degree and another year for a master’s degree,” he said.

Under the top up initiative, NBTE has proposed a two-year master’s degree programme for HND holders in the polytechnics and not in the universities.

Bugaje said this was necessary because of the different academic orientations between the HND and university degrees.

He said that the NBTE had to find an alternative route for the progression of HND holders, which was for them to do the one-year top up.

With the initiative, they will be able to get a bachelor in addition to HND and also enroll for a one-year masters and go for a PhD.

He feared that, “if they follow the settle for Post Graduate Diploma (PGD), they will still be looked down upon in the university system.

“After the PGD, master’s and PhD, and they want to join any Nigerian university, they will asked for their first degree?

“This is unfortunate and NBTE cannot allow things to continue this way.”

He hopes that the partnership with some foreign universities might attract some Nigerian universities to key in.

The plan is for HND holders to be engaged in the polytechnics as assistant lecturers just like their university counterparts.

“At the moment, this is not allowed. This is injustice,” Bugaje said.

Bugaje said that “the Nigerian system has a lot of prejudice against HND holders, and I hope this will change, it is not helping Nigeria.

“It is a colonial attitude which must change. I hope our universities buy into the programme so that we can move this nation forward.”

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