Jide Awe, an Information Communication Technology (ICT) expert, says the unbundling of Higher National Diploma Computer Science programme, is a response to the ICT global industry demands.
Awe was reacting to the Jan. 8, recent development by the National Board for Technology Education (NBTE), which saw the unbundling of HND Computer Science in Polytechnics and Mono-technics into four specialised programmes.
The specialised programmes included Artificial Intelligence, Networking & Cloud Computing, Software & Web Development, and Cyber security & Data Protection.
He said the development was a novel development that was targeted at ensuring that Computer Science students focus on the needs and requirements of the real digital world.
According to him, the idea will support the practical orientation of polytechnics, which seeks to reflect the needs of organisations and the society, because technology already outpaces education’s ability to adapt.
“It will concentrate more effort and energy into providing more depth and specialisation in key, high-demand areas of computing with immediate application and anticipated future demand.
“This can be seen as a response to industry demands and trends in the rapidly evolving technology landscape”.
Awe acknowledged that the rapid growth of fields like AI and Cybersecurity had increased the global demand for specialisation in the areas.
He also said that the change would equip HND students with specialised career paths and deeper knowledge, why the skills acquired are expected to improve the employability of HND graduates in the areas.
The expert, however, observed that the development could also pose a challenge because of the absence of Computer Science in the titles of the specialised programmes.
“The Computer Science title holds strong recognition and is more widely understood than titles like HND Artificial Intelligence, HND Networking and Cloud Computing.
“Consequently, the programme identity and recognition associated with the HND Computer Science title is now missing.
“Even within the IT sector, computing academics and professionals have questioned whether these new areas could have been offered as optional specialisations within the existing HND Computer Science programme,” he said.
He said that there should have been greater awareness created for those unfamiliar with the programme structure, adding that such awareness should have involved stakeholders.
“It is important that a systematic approach that ensures stakeholder involvement is reflected in policy implementation, analysis and review.
“To successfully run the new HND programmes, the necessary faculty, equipment and infrastructure must be available for their implementation.
“This is essential to ensure institutions provide the environment for practical knowledge and capacity building.
“It is also important that innovative mindsets and creative thinking are emphasised and cultivated within these educational institutions,” he said.
He noted that changing titles alone without changing mindsets in the polytechnic education sphere won’t take anyone very far.
“This unbundling of the HND Computer Science programme presents both opportunities and challenges.
“Progress will depend on the effectiveness of implementing and adapting the new programmes to the evolving tech landscape.
“Effective communication and transparency are key for ensuring a smooth transition and maximising the benefits of the unbundling initiative,” Awe added.