Prof. Idris Bugaje the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has called on the Federal Government to eliminate the existing differences between Higher National Diploma (HND) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) qualifications or consider scrapping HND programs entirely.
Bugaje said this in a recent interview with NAN in Abuja, focusing on the issues surrounding HND top-up programs, News About Nigeria gathered.
He argued that the discrimination faced by HND holders was unjustifiable and hindered their promotion to the highest levels of public service.
He emphasized that the HND-BSc dichotomy was a relic of the colonial era and lamented that Nigeria had yet to overcome the challenge.
Bugaje also revealed that the NBTE had made efforts to persuade the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the Federal Ministry of Education to permit HND holders to directly pursue a two-year Master’s program, but these efforts yielded no result.
He further explained the rationale behind the top-up program, which aimed to address the discrimination faced by HND holders.
He stated that globally, HND qualifications were equivalent to first-degree qualifications. Yet, in Nigeria, HND holders often faced restrictions and were asked to step down to lower positions if they did not possess a BSc.
To rectify this situation, Bugaje said that the NBTE looked to international models, particularly those in Ghana, South Africa, the European Union, and Asia.
He suggested that Nigerian HND holders could benefit from a one-year top-up program that would grant them BSc qualifications. He believes that this approach would allow HND holders to progress and excel in various fields of endeavour.