Mr Anderson Ezeibe, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), has urged the Federal Government to empower polytechnics to award bachelors of technology to end the Bachelor of Science and Higher National Diploma (HND) dichotomy.
Ezeibe made the call in Kaduna at an award presentation and farewell ceremony organised by ASUP, Makarfi Chapter to mark transition of Shehu Idris College of Health Sciences and Technology, Makarfi (SICHSTM) into Kaduna State University (KASU).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports that SICHSTM was merged with KASU to be awarding degrees by Gov. Nasir El-Rufa’i.
He said the measure, if adopted, would also ensure full utilisation of huge numbers of technical equipment in workshops, laboratories and other facilities in public polytechnics that remained underutilised due to the lean student population.
The president said that with the transition, SICHST was no longer a member of ASUP, but of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
”ASUP is currently in advocacy on the award of bachelors of technology by the Nigerian polytechnics system.
”HND is no longer as attractive as it used to be to Nigerian youths because of the age-long dichotomy.
“Policy makers have made it a rule that once an individual has an HND, he cannot attain the peak of his/her career, then why are they continuing to force it on people, why don’t they phase it out and replace it with bachelors of technology,” he said.
According to him, the Nigerian polytechnic system has all it takes, in terms of infrastructure and human capital, to award Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate Degrees in the areas of technology.
“In Europe, Germany, UK, America and all parts of the world, polytechnics are not limited to middle level manpower.
“In the new polytechnic act, they are empowered to produce higher level manpower without limit, as we speak, many polytechnics are producing degree holders but in affiliation
“They are doing it with their own infrastructure and staff, why can’t they do it in the name of another institution.
“We are in serious advocacy regarding this and we have recently submitted a position paper to the federal government on the need to transition from the award of HND to bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees in technology with the Nigeria polytechnic system,”he said.
According to him, it will be the surest way of barricading the dichotomy between HND and Bachelor’s Degrees.
“The bill to stop the dichotomy has passed through all the stages of legislation but not accented by the President and the period has passed, which means there is no political will.
“So, if they are not ready to improve HND, they should phase it out and replace it with degrees in technology so as for us to continue to dwell in our own area of competence which is technical education.
”ASUP is faced with many challenges and success stories among which were their ability to change the model of engagement with proprietors of public polytechnics and colleges of technology in the country.
“We also engage in a lot of advocacy which resulted in us attracting positivities to the Nigerian polytechnics system.
“Recently, six new centres of excellence have been established in the Nigerian polytechnics system, one in each geo-political zone, they are the first of their kind.”
Ezeibe also said that in October, N15 billion was also released for the polytechnics system as a result of their struggles, for the revitalisation of infrastructure in Nigeria polytechnics system.
“Currently, we are renegotiating our agreement with the government on a new wage structure for our members, and many other developments we are trying to bring to the Nigeria polytechnics system,”he said.
He said they were engaging their challenges in a productive manner without disrupting academic activities in their campuses.
Earlier, Mr Dauda Rilwan, Chairman of the event’s organising committee, said the occasion was very important to the institution as it was deemed fit by the Kaduna State Government to merge it with KASU for awarding of degrees and postgraduate qualifications.
He said that the award presentation was timely, especially honoring those who had worked tirelessly in making the institution move to a higher level.