The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has expressed great displeasure over the recently released scheme of service for holders of Higher National Diploma (HND) certificates in the government service, saying the new document further undermines the polytechnic and also promotes the agelong disparity and discrimination against its products with that of university in the country.

Recall that the Federal Government, through the National Board for Technical (NBTE) recently issued a white paper, titled: “Scheme of Service for Polytechnics” signed by the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Dr. Folasade Yemi-Esan, a copy of which was sent to ASUP through NBTE.

In the document, according to ASUP, there are many discrepancies and contentious issues that the members, as one of the major stakeholders in the polytechnic education, are not happy with and therefore demand a stoppage of its implementation.

Condemning the development, ASUP in a statement signed by its National President, Shammah Kpanja, and made available to newsmen at the weekend, emphasized that the new document grossly undermined Nigeria’s polytechnic status, promotes disparity and discrimination against HND holders, and also negatively distorts the established career structures and progression guides in the subsector.

According to the union, the development is indeed a period of mourning for Nigeria’s polytechnic system after a tortuous seven-year review journey following agitations by the union, “our polytechnics are left with a burden of contradictions that amplifies the identity crises rocking the subsector over the years.”

The union said it is not even surprising to members that the head of the civil service could come up with that policy since, according to them, she has no regard for polytechnic and its products as shown in her utterances over the years. “But this is a clear display of poor knowledge of the office of HoCSF as regards the core demands of a functional tertiary structure with the desired condiments for the promotion of technical and technological education in the country. “And we are equally disappointed at NBTE on this matter.

“We believe that rather than the agency to undertake a careful study of the document, it chose the path of a lone-ranging celebration of a document that will birth confusion in the subsector, deepen dichotomy, accelerate brain drain, further reduce students’ enrollment and further detach our polytechnics away from global community of tertiary schools.

“Similarly, while we see this attempt as a way to trivialize our union’s past struggles to make career definition and progression structures in our polytechnics to meet up with global standards, we equally see it as a subtle attempt to inject acrimony within the ranks of the staff trade unions in the subsector.

“So, to us, this is an unfortunate development, and we strongly advise NBTE as our regulatory body to exercise restraint in the implementation of the various contentious provisions in the document until such provisions are aligned to prevailing laws and standards in the tertiary”.

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