The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has voiced strong dissatisfaction with the recently released scheme of service for Higher National Diploma (HND) holders in government service.

The union argues that the new document undermines polytechnic education and perpetuates longstanding disparities and discrimination against HND holders compared to university graduates.

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The Federal Government, through the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), issued the white paper titled “Scheme of Service for Polytechnics,” signed by Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation.

ASUP, having received a copy of the document through NBTE, has identified several discrepancies and contentious issues within the scheme that it finds unacceptable and is demanding its immediate cessation.

In a statement signed by ASUP National President Shammah Kpanja and made available to the press, the union condemned the new document, stating that it grossly undermines the status of Nigeria’s polytechnic education.

The statement emphasized that the scheme promotes disparity and discrimination against HND holders, distorts established career structures and progression guidelines, and could further damage the polytechnic sector.

Kpanja described the development as a period of mourning for Nigeria’s polytechnic system, which, after a protracted seven-year review process driven by union agitations, has resulted in a document burdened with contradictions that exacerbate the identity crisis within the subsector.

ASUP also criticized Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, asserting that her lack of regard for polytechnic education and its graduates is evident in her past statements.

The union argued that her policy reflects a poor understanding of the requirements for a functional tertiary education structure that supports technical and technological education in the country.

ASUP also expressed disappointment in the NBTE for its celebration of the document without undertaking a thorough study.

The union believes that the NBTE’s approach could lead to confusion in the subsector, deepen the dichotomy, accelerate brain drain, reduce student enrollment, and further isolate Nigerian polytechnics from the global community of tertiary institutions.

The union also accused the scheme of trivializing its past struggles to align career definitions and progression structures in polytechnics with global standards and attempting to create discord within the staff trade unions.

In conclusion, ASUP advised the NBTE to exercise restraint in implementing the contentious provisions of the document until they are aligned with existing laws and standards in tertiary education.