The Nigerian Senate passed a bill Wednesday, to abolish the discrimination between holders of Higher National Diploma (HND) and Bachelor of science (BSc) from tertiary institutions.
Senate president Ahmad Lawan said the passage of the bill will serve as a motivation to HND holders from polytechnics.
“This particular (HND discrimination) issue has been on the front burner for a long time,” Lawan said during Wednesday’s plenary.
“I recall that in the House (of Representatives) between 2003 and 2007, this was one bill that was so important and it is a way of encouraging our polytechnic graduates.
“This should not take away the kind of training they give but should be a motivation for our polytechnic graduates.”
The bill, sponsored by Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central), suggested to resolve the controversy over wage difference and gross discrimination 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.
Akinyelure said the discrimination against HND holders threatens to ruin the nation’s core policy thrust of evolving a technological and scientifically based society.
He said findings 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 the skill and ability of the HND holders, thereof, does more harm than good to the nation’s development plans,” Akinyelure said.
However, Some senators argued that rather than seeking to abolish the dichotomy, efforts should be made to transform all polytechnics into degree-awarding institutions.
The bill scaled the third reading on Wednesday after the lawmakers received and considered the report of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions submitted by Ahmad Kaita, which contained six clauses.
Kaita said the bill, when passed and assented to, will give polytechnic graduates confidence and impact the country’s economy, positively.
Later on, The lawmakers did a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill in the Committee of the Whole, after which it was passed.
The bill is expected to be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for presidential assent.