Top-Up Program Beyond NUC’s Jurisdiction, Says NBTE
The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has cleared the air over the proposed Top-Up programme in foreign offshore accredited universities for Nigerian HND holders, saying the program is entirely beyond the jurisdiction of the National Universities Commission (NUC).
The Executive Secretary, NBTE, Prof. Idris Bugaje stated this in a letter to the Minister of Education in response to questions bordering on the newly initiated HND Top-Up Program using offshore credit transfer admission.
According to Bugaje, HND holders who choose to pursue an academic career, at the moment, have no progression path except through the Postgraduate Diploma and anytime they wish to switch to Universities as lecturers after their Ph.D., they are always queried to produce their first degree.
Proffering a lasting solution to the HND–BSc crisis, therefore, Bugaje has implored the Minister to convince President Bola Tinubu to sign the Anti-Dichotomy Bill into law, assuring that it will bring an end to the unwarranted and undeserved discrimination against HND holders in Nigeria.
The ‘top-up’ or ‘credit transfer admissions’ by foreign universities is being mooted as an alternative to the PGD.
According to reports, six Nigerian Universities have shown interest in joining the Top-Up program but the Board has not responded to their request as NUC may not give them approval.
The letter reads in part: “I write to update you on the media response last week of the National Universities Commission (NUC) of Nigeria to an NBTE-initiated progression for HND holders through the Top-Up program in foreign (offshore) accredited universities.
“Only the FME Division of Evaluation and Accreditation has the power to assess the foreign degrees (not NUC) after the students have graduated and may seek that.
“NBTE only provides HND Curricula content for credit mapping and eventual credit transfer admissions. The admissions are done by foreign universities and their Senates make awards of degrees not NBTE. In fact, the entire process is designed to operate seamlessly without NBTE.
“NBTE also has no financial benefit in the whole exercise though we requested low tuition of a maximum of about 10% of regular fees since course delivery is online”.
NUC, from its press release, seems to dislike online programs, attempting to take us back to the 20th Century. Online programs are today a globally accepted mode of Education delivery, especially in the 21st Century. Nigerian educational policy has accommodated that with an Open University approved by the Federal Government and NBTE-approved Open Distance Flexible and e-Learning (ODFeL) Centres being operated by 36 Polytechnics at the moment, and the number is growing.
Nigerian HNDs are much respected globally. Many European countries give them direct admissions for Masters. Last year, a shining example was Miss Islamiyat Ojelade, HND Distinction in Science Lab Technology (Biochemistry) graduate from the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro, who last year received PhD admissions and Scholarships from seven (7) top US Universities, without the BSc. and not even MSc. Let us therefore start respecting our HNDs here at home and stop this discrimination by NUC and others with this mindset.