The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has clarified that the new online top-up programme for Higher National Diploma (HND) holders to acquire a bachelor’s degree for one year, with foreign accredited universities, is meant for the HND holders who want to pursue an academic career.
According to NAN, Fatima Abubakar, the NBTE head of the media unit, offered the clarification in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
Abubakar quoted Idris Bugaje, the board’s chief executive, as saying the programme is not for all the HND holders but rather for those who have the ambition to further their career in an academic environment such as teaching and research in the polytechnics or universities.
“This top-up is an alternative to the Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) offered by Nigerian Universities,” the statement reads.
“In a democracy such as ours, HND holders should be allowed to make a choice between PGD and the top-up to BSc.”
The statement said the clarification came on the heels of misunderstandings about the programme in a section of the media.
According to Bugaje, the top-up is not bringing an end to HND programmes in polytechnics but rather provides choices to HND holders who want to go for an academic career.
“The choice of starting it with foreign universities is to show its universal acceptability perchance the Nigerian universities may eventually buy into it in due course,” he added.
“The cost is reasonable, just about 10 per cent of what regular face-to-face students pay.
“NBTE has come up with the programme to enable interested Polytechnic HND holders to be at par with their counterparts with Bachelor’s degree holders.
“And make it easy for them to go for their Master’s and Doctorate degrees for those interested in pursuing their career in academics.”
Bugaje said the initiative would ease the suffering of HND holders in the country.
He said the board had to find an alternative route, which was for HND holders to do a one-year top up, in conjunction with some foreign universities.
”Presently there are many Ph.D. holders who academically progressed with HND through the PGD coming back to enroll for BSc (after their Ph.D.) in Nigerian universities, a very retrogressive step indeed,” he added.
“The HND qualification in itself represents something unique and this top-up shall be an encouragement for candidates to apply for Polytechnic education since there is a pathway for progression into academics.
”This will never dilute the essence of technical education but rather enhance it.”