Although the Nigerian government is committed to removing the dichotomy between BSc and HND holders, the dichotomy will remain until an ongoing review of the Scheme of Service is completed, an official suggested on Wednesday.
Currently, Nigerian polytechnic graduates are awarded HND while university graduates are awarded BSc or its equivalent. However, HND holders are often discriminated against when joining or exiting the public service as they are placed at a level below their BSc counterparts.
Many Nigerians including the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) have called for the removal of that dichotomy and the federal government has expressed its interest in doing so.
On Wednesday, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, restated the federal government’s commitment to removing the dichotomy. She, however, said the removal was not contained in the just-completed review of the Public Service Rules (PSR) but will be included in the review of the ‘Scheme of Service’ which, she said, is currently ongoing.
On the discrepancies between HND and degree programme. It’s in the Scheme of Service that this will be reflected not in the PSR. It’s the Scheme of Service that describes entry points and things like that. And currently, we’re reviewing the scheme of service, it’s just that we did this first, and then we’ll do the scheme of service. So that’s where that will be reflected,” Mrs Yemi-Esan told journalists in Abuja after the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.
Currently, in Nigeria’s civil service, the practice is that a new employee with a BSc is placed on a salary grade level 8 while the HND certificate holder counterpart is placed on a level lower.
In the security service, a BSc holder is recruited as a commissioned officer, while an HND holder is also placed on a step lower. Also, an HND graduate is also not expected to go higher than GL 13 in the service while a B.Sc graduate can attain Level 17.
The development formed the basis of the agitation by the relevant individuals and groups including the leadership of the National Association of Polytechnic Students ( NAPS), the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), among others.
However, recently, Nogeria’s upper chamber of the National Assembly passed a bill prohibiting employers in the country from discriminating between Bsc and HND holders.
The Senate president, Ahmad Lawan, said the passage of the bill would serve as a motivation to graduate from polytechnics.
This bill may also form part of what the government is expected to factor in its attempt to address the challenge.