The Federal Executive Council (FEC), on Wednesday, approved a comprehensive reform of Nigeria’s
tertiary education system, scrapping the award the Higher National Diploma (HND) by the nation’s polytechnics.
To this end, 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 percent, 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, Mallam Adamu Adamu, reportedly told journalists after the weekly meeting of the council in Abuja Wednesday that under the reform measures, his 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.
He 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 percent 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.
Mallam 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 Minister explained.
The FEC 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.
Bayelsa State is to have a College of Technology as a campus of the University of Port Harcourt.
Efforts of The DEFENDER to seek clarifications from the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu or his Media Office were unsuccessful at the time of filing this report as text to the effect was yet to be responded to.
Top level government source in Abuja, however, confirmed to us that “the information about YabaTech and Kaduna Poly being upgraded to universities status is correct”.
Senate passes Bill since May 2021
The DEFENDER recalls that new tertiary education system reforms in the country was given a bite Wednesday August 3, 2022 barely 15 months, precisely Wednesday May 19, 2021 after the Nigerian Senate had passed a bill seeking to upgrade the same Yaba College of Technology now being actively to henceforth be known as a university of technology in the country.
Although the YabaTech management, reacting to the passage of the bill, had said modalities for it to join post-UTME offering universities were underway, checks confirmed that university status of the Lagos-based federal technology higher institution never took off until the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting approval was given on Wednesday August 3, 2022.
Also passed at that time was a bill to establish the Federal University, Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State. The approval for the establishment of both universities followed the consideration of two separate reports by the Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND at the Senate.
However, whereas the Federal University Birnin-Kebbi has since been established by the Federal Government, the YabaTech becoming a university did not not happen until Wednesday August 3.