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HND Holders Now Eligible for Lecturing Positions

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Nigerian polytechnics are undergoing a significant transformation with the introduction of new Schemes of Service, effective from June 7, 2024. This long-awaited reform, championed by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), addresses several key issues within the polytechnic system including lecturing positions for HND graduates.

Prior to the new schemes, a major point of contention was the “Instructor Cadre,” which restricted career progression for holders of Higher National Diplomas (HNDs). This system, seen as discriminatory, has now been abolished.

“HND holders with good grades are now to be appointed as Academic Staff (Graduate Assistants),” announced Prof. Idris Mohammed Bugaje, Executive Secretary of NBTE, during the official presentation of the new schemes. This move signifies a crucial step towards recognizing the qualifications of HND graduates within the polytechnic system and offering them opportunities for advancement.

New Polytechnic Service Scheme

The new schemes establish a unified recruitment and promotion process across all Nigerian polytechnics, encompassing federal, state, and private institutions. This standardization aims to ensure transparency and fairness in career progression for all polytechnic staff.

The NBTE emphasizes the importance of skills training within the polytechnic system. One key innovation is the requirement of a minimum National Skills Qualification (NSQ) Level 3 for positions of Senior Lecturer and above. This provision aims to ensure that faculty members possess practical skills alongside their academic credentials.

To ease the transition for existing lecturers, a three-year moratorium has been established for them to acquire the NSQ qualification or its equivalent. Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) will also be offered to acknowledge existing skills and experience.

The introduction of the new schemes hasn’t been without its points of discussion with staff unions. One concern raised by the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) is the terminal level for the Registry Cadre, which is now Deputy Registrar (CONTEDISS 15). The position of Registrar is tenured with a consolidated salary structure, unlike other principal officer positions.

Prof. Bugaje acknowledged this concern and highlighted the possibility of resolving it due to the differentiated salary structures involved (CONTEDISS for Registry Cadre and CONPCASS for academic staff). Similarly, the abolishment of “skipping” promotions has been raised by other unions. The NBTE is open to discussing this matter with the Head of Service of the Federation (HoSF) to align it with practices within the broader public service.

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If You Ask Me

The new Schemes of Service are expected to have a positive impact on the Nigerian polytechnic system in several ways. Firstly, it fosters a more inclusive environment for HND graduates, allowing them to pursue careers in academia within polytechnics. Secondly, the emphasis on skills training ensures faculty members possess a practical skillset alongside theoretical knowledge.

Additionally, the unified recruitment and promotion process enhances transparency and fairness across the system. Finally, the use of the schemes as an accreditation tool will encourage compliance with quality standards in both established and newly-founded polytechnics.

The introduction of the new Schemes of Service marks a significant milestone for Nigerian polytechnics. By promoting inclusivity, emphasizing skills training, and establishing a standardized framework, these reforms pave the way for a more robust and future-oriented polytechnic system in Nigeria.

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