The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has disclosed that its proposed ‘top-up’ degree programme in foreign offshore accredited universities for graduates with Higher National Diploma is beyond the National Universities Commission’s (NUC) jurisdiction.
Fatima Abubakar, spokesperson of NBTE, in a statement, revealed that Idris Bugaje, the board’s executive secretary, unveiled this in a letter to Tahir Mamman, minister of education, in response to questions on the issue of the recently introduced HND top-up programme using offshore credit transfer admission.
“I write to update you on the media response last week of the National Universities Commission of Nigeria to an NBTE-initiated progression for HND holders through the Top-Up programme in foreign (offshore) accredited universities.
“Only the FME Division of Evaluation and Accreditation has the power to assess the foreign degrees after the students have graduated and may seek that.
“NBTE only provides HND curricula content for credit mapping and eventual credit transfer admissions. Foreign universities make the admissions, and their senators award degrees, not NBTE. The entire process is designed to operate seamlessly without NBTE.
“NBTE also has no financial benefit in the whole exercise, though we requested low tuition of a maximum of about 10% of regular fees since course delivery is online.”
Furthermore, he said, “HND holders who choose to pursue an academic career at the moment have no progression path except through the Postgraduate Diploma, and anytime they wish to switch to universities as lecturers after their PhD, they are always queried to produce their first degree.”
Bugaje, in offering a lasting solution to the crisis beclouding HND–BSc for a long while, entreated the minister to convince President Bola Tinubu to sign the anti-dichotomy bill into law.
He reiterated that if the bill is signed into law, it will end the unnecessary and undeserved discrimination against HND holders in Nigeria.
Besides, he explained that the ‘top-up’ transfer admissions’ by foreign universities were being introduced as an alternative to the PGD while also quoting media reports that six Nigerian universities indicated interest in joining the conversion programme but were denied their request by the board because the “NUC may not give them approval.”
The NBTE statement further noted that NUC, from its press release, seemed to dislike online programs, “attempting to take us back to the 20th century.”
“Online programmes are today a globally accepted mode of education delivery, especially in the 21st century. Nigerian educational policy has accommodated that with an open university approved by the federal government and NBTE-approved Open Distance Flexible and e-Learning Centres being operated by 36 polytechnics, and the number is growing,” the statement read.
The NBTE further hailed products of Nigerian polytechnics and cautioned the NUC against “further” discrimination of HND graduates.
“Nigerian HNDs are much respected globally. Many European countries give them direct admissions for Masters. Last year, a shining example was Islamiyat Ojelade, HND Distinction in Science Laboratory Technology (Biochemistry) graduate from the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, who last year received PhD admissions and scholarships from seven top US universities without the BSc. and not even MSc.
Let us, therefore, start respecting our HNDs here at home and stop this discrimination by NUC and others with this mindset.”