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Senate passes Bill to end first degree, HND dichotomy

By Sanni Onogu, Abuja

The Senate, on Wednesday, read for the third time and passed a Bill that seeks to end discrimination between first degrees graduates from universities and Higher National Diploma (HND) holders from polytechnics in the country.

The passage of the Bill followed the consideration of the report of the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters as well as the Tertiary Institutions and TETfund, during plenary.

Reading the report of the Joint Committee, its Chairman, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, said: “The enactment of the Bill to abolish and prohibit discrimination between first degrees and HND for the purpose of employment in Nigeria will no doubt free holders of HND from stagnation and ensure balanced treatment with their counterparts from other higher tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”

He added that the abolishment of the existing dichotomy between HND holders and university graduates would meet the huge manpower needs of Nigerians, ensure social justice and boost corporate governance, as well as encourage patriotic contributions amongst HND employees in the public and private sectors.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan said the passage of the Bill would motivate polytechnic graduates.

He urged the public and private sectors to ensure the implementation of the Bill’s provisions as soon as it is signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The Bill, which was sponsored by Senator Patrick Ayo Akinyelure, seeks to resolve the lingering controversy, discrimination and wage and entry level disparity against HND holders in the public and private sectors of the economy.

It also seeks to promote Nigeria’s technological advancement by encouraging many qualified candidates to pursue polytechnic and technological studies.

In his lead debate during the second reading of the Bill, Akinyelure had insisted that discrimination against HND holders could ruin the nation’s core policy thrust of evolving a technological and scientifically-based society.

Findings, the senator said, had proved that some polytechnic graduates were in some cases better on the field than their university counterparts.

“A government employment policy that places degree holders ahead of HND holders without recourse to skill and ability of the HND holders thereof does more harm than good to the nation’s development plans,” he added.

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