The Federal Executive Council (FEC) yesterday approved a comprehensive reform of Nigeria’s tertiary education system, scrapping the award of the Higher National Diploma (HND) by the nation’s polytechnics.
In effect, the award of the HND will be limited to only the students currently admitted for the programmes.
Also, all the programmes currently being run by the polytechnics, which are not technology-based, and which are about 70 per cent, will be scrapped.
Under the new rule, the polytechnics will now become campuses of the proximate universities with the Vice Chancellors of those universities appointing provosts for the polytechnics, subject to the ratification of the Universities Councils.
The polytechnics will now be limited to award of the National Diploma (ND) while those desirous of further education will be awarded the Bachelor of Technology (B. Tech) by the proximate university.
To kick-start the new policy, the nation’s two most prominent polytechnics – Yaba College of Technology and Kaduna Polytechnic – will henceforth be known as City University of Technology, Yaba and City University of Technology, Kaduna.
And to give legal teeth to these approvals, the FEC approved the submission of two Executive bills to the National Assembly for enactment into law.
With education being on the concurrent list, the states may wish to consolidate their tertiary institutions. But if they do not wish to follow the federal example, their programmes will continue to be regulated by the relevant agencies of the Federal Ministry of Education.
The first bill will concretise the setting up of the two city universities while the second will approve the preparation and consolidation of all federal polytechnics and colleges of education as campuses of proximate universities.
The Ministry of Justice will do the preparation and submission of the two bills to the National Assembly.
Minister of Education, Mall. Adamu, told journalists after the weekly meeting of the council that under the reform measures, her ministry would, however, continue to licence private polytechnics and colleges of education for the award of qualification at ND and National Certificate in Education (NCE) levels.
She said: “There will be no more award of HND.
After we have exhausted the current students under the programme, there will be no more award of HND. This means that there will be no fresh admission for HND programmes. And in addition, any programme that is not technical will be out of the polytechnics. About 70 per cent of polytechnic graduates are in the non-technical courses. It is going to be a rigorous implementation programme.”
A ministerial committee to ensure the smooth implementation of all that is required for the take-off of the reform initiatives is to begin work immediately.
Mall. Adamu said: “The HND certificate will remain a legal tender in Nigeria and holders of such certificate will continue to be recognised as the equivalent of first degree holders without discriminatory remunerations and limit to progression in the work place.
The NCE certificate will be retained as the minimum teaching qualification at the basic level of education. Any higher qualifications by these private or state-owned polytechnics will be only affiliation with a university. So, HND is no longer in existence, but existing HND will be respected and considered legal tender.”
The council also approved the Federal Government’s formal take-over of the Waziri Umaru Polytechnic, Birnin Kebbi, which will be the College of Technology campus of the Othman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, as well as the Hussein Adamu Polytechnic, Kazaure, Bauchi, which will be a College of Technology of the proximate university in the state.
Also, the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, Owerri, Imo State, has been taken over as a campus of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri.
A state that had never had any federal institution, like Bayelsa, is to have a College of Technology as a campus of the College of Technology of the University of Port Harcourt.