National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the Mewar Group, an ICT-driven accredited International University has partnered on a one-year Top-Up program for Higher National Diploma (HND) graduates.
Executive Secretary, NBTE, Prof. Idris Bugaje disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday at meeting between the board, Mewar Group and Rectors of Polytechnics.
He said that the board had written to the National Universities Commission (NUC) on the need to allow HND holders proceed for Masters in Technology to be at par with university graduates, instead of shutting down HND.
He hinted that closing HND would only reduce skills content.
“We said we should give another option for HND graduates to do a one-year top-up online programme with accredited university so that they can be awarded a BSc degree.
”At the moment as you are aware, the HND graduates are discriminated against in public service and also not giving awards of post graduate training, we have clear examples of these discriminations.
”We made an attempt to introduce a Master of Technology programme for HND holders which we agreed to be two years instead of one year to be run in polytechnics .
”This was the proposal we pass to the NUC through the Minister of Education- the programme went to the NUC but it seems they are sitting on it.
”When I found out, they claim that degrees are awarded by Senate and the Senate of the university in their opinion is not at par with the Academic Board of polytechnics- we are not asking them to give us PHD but only asking them to give us MTech.
”This was the position that NBTE took instead of closing down HND completely as proposed by ASUP because ASUP position is shut down HND and introduce BTech that is going to drastically reduce skills content,” he said.
The executive secretary noted that due to the challenge of discrimination, came up with an option of introducing HND online top-up for graduates to be awarded with BSc certificate.
”We realized the best option is to have another alternative- either to change the Polytechnics Act to introduce direct Masters of Technology and to empower Academic Board to award those courses of technology which will be challenged seriously from the university system.
”Another option is to do Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) after which they do masters, when they finish they can now do PhD but when they finish the university will still reject them asking for their BSc.
”So we say we should give another option for HND holders to do one year top-up online with accredited and local universities so that at the end of the one year, they can be awarded a BSc degree,” he said.
He said that the board had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mewar Group for top-up with HND holders of the Kaduna Polytechnic and the students would soon be graduating with a BSc with international ranking.
He, therefore, said that ranking the HND curriculum would also help polytechnic lecturers to move across other universities.
He also said that the board was working on HND admission platform that would provide adequate data of HND students and also enable NYSC pick data of students for enrollment.
Responding, Mr Samer Khan, Pro-Chancellor (Academic), the Mewar International University, Nigeria, congratulated Bugaje for the efforts put in the development of polytechnics education in the country.
Samer said that the organization is working with the board to provide a solution software integrated system for learning resources of the top-up program.
According to him, producing graduates is one thing but producing graduates with skills is another thing.
”The NBTE Diploma to Degree Top-up Programs will have 24/7 dedicated platform for online based Diploma to Degree Top-up Programs conducted by global universities of International rank and repute.
” It will have quality assurance and quality control management for the delivery and ease in completion of program with equivalence acceptance in Nigeria.
” The platform is also a 24/7 backend technology support for all learners assistance,” he said.
He also said that admissions for the HND top-up would be rolled out in few weeks, while calling on HND graduates to take advantage of the program.
Also, the Lead Director, Mewar Group Nigeria, Abubakar Bello, said the software platform would help rectors and lecturers to connect with students online as well as help foster interactions with management.