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Path to varsity/poly certificate dichotomy, by FG

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Buhari. Photo: TWITTER/NIGERIAGOV

Senate holds a hearing on parity, considers upgrading agric college

The Federal Government, yesterday came out clean on the perennial first degree/HND dichotomy, stating that the crisis could only be resolved when the curricula of the two education cadres are harmonised.

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For a lasting resolution, the government insisted that the National Universities Commission (NUC) and the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) must jointly develop an updated curriculum.

This comes as polytechnic rectors, lecturers, students, and other stakeholders called on the government to urgently end the parity nationwide.

Also, Senate President Ahmad Lawan described the discrimination against graduates of polytechnics as “undesirable.”

They spoke during a public hearing on a bill for an “Act to abolish and prohibit discrimination between first degree and higher national diplomas for the purposes of employment in Nigeria and other matters connected herewith. S. B (297)”

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The motion to end the inequality during the meeting organised by the Senate Committee on Tertiary Education and TETFUND was sponsored by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (PDP: Ondo Central).

Representatives of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), NBTE, Forum of Nigeria Polytechnic Alumni Associations (FONPAA), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Committee of Federal Polytechnic Rectors, all spoke against the bias their products face in the labour market.

National Chairman of Polytechnic Alumni Association, Obialor Ibebuike, said if the Nigerian government was serious about its touted technological development, the parity must be abolished and polytechnics well-funded.

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“China recently converted 600 universities to well-funded, research-based polytechnics to further boost their industrial and economic growth. The same strategy had been adopted by South Korea.

“This, we believe, is the way to go in our country, if we are really serious in catching up with the developed world,” he added.

The Permanent Secretary (Service, Policies, and Strategies) in the office of the Head of Service of the Federation, Emmanuel Meribole, who represented his boss at the event, said while the dichotomy at entry-level into the public service had been removed, that of progression of Level 14 upward remained, as a polytechnic graduate would have to acquire a post-graduate diploma or Master’s degree before advancing.

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He acknowledged that his principal had been inundated with memos, appeals, and petitions.

Chairman of the panel, Senator Ahmad Baba-Kaita, assured the participants that their views and submissions would be instrumental to the final report.

Besides, the Red Chamber is considering an upgrade of the College of Agriculture, Kabba, Kogi State to a full-fledged University of Agriculture.

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The proposal was sponsored by Senator Smart Adeyemi (APC: Kogi West).

The college has been a campus of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) since 1971.

The sponsor argued that the move was long overdue, citing its Makurdi, Sokoto, Kano, and Bauchi contemporaries.

He declared that in line with the diversification policy of the current administration, there was a need for the establishment of two federal universities of agriculture in each of the six geo-political zones.

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