In a recent development, the National Universities Commission (NUC) has disassociated itself from a program proposed by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) that aimed to convert Higher National Diploma (HND) qualifications into university degrees. The NUC’s Acting Executive Secretary, Chris Maiyaki, released a statement on Saturday condemning the program, describing it as a “ruse.”
Maiyaki emphasized that the distinction between first-degree holders and HND graduates still exists and that both universities and polytechnics offer distinct programs. He stated that attempting to bridge this gap through the proposed conversion scheme would pose significant challenges.
The NUC, in its statement, urged the public, as well as various Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), to take note that they are not endorsing or affiliated with the so-called “Top-up Scheme” introduced by the NBTE.
The NBTE’s program, as reported online, aimed to offer a one-year top-up degree program in Nigerian Polytechnics, enabling HND holders to convert their qualifications into first degrees through foreign-accredited universities. This initiative was presented as an effort to eliminate the existing disparity between degree and HND holders in the workplace and enhance opportunities for further education.
Maiyaki stressed that technical education has a unique place worldwide and that polytechnics and universities coexist to fulfill their distinctive objectives. He clarified that the university degrees awarded by Nigerian universities are fundamentally different from the HNDs conferred by Polytechnics in Nigeria.
Moreover, he explained that for admission into a master’s degree program in Nigerian universities for candidates with HNDs, one of the requirements is the acquisition of a postgraduate diploma (PGD) from a recognized university in a relevant field.
Maiyaki called on the NBTE to concentrate on its core responsibilities and avoid introducing programs that fall outside its jurisdiction and are not supported by Nigerian law, emphasizing that the NUC would not tolerate any infringement on its lawful responsibilities.
The NUC’s disapproval of the HND to degree conversion program proposed by the NBTE has ignited a debate about the education system in Nigeria and the challenges faced by HND graduates in their pursuit of further education.
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