Nigerian polytechnic teachers under the auspices of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) have accused high-ranking officials of the federal government of working against the survival of polytechnic institutions in the country.

At the end of its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, the union resolved to give a 15-day ultimatum to federal and state governments to suspend the implementation of the contentious aspect of the reviewed scheme of service for the institution or face industrial unrest.
The union said the document approved by the Head of Service of the Federation as a Scheme of Service for polytechnics, was highly injurious to the interest and growth of professionals in the sector.

In the communique issued at the end of the NEC meeting in Abuja, ASUP said the document contained significant and fundamental deviations from the document prepared by stakeholders in the sector under the supervision of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE).

ASUP accused the Head of Service of the Federation of implementing measures capable of killing polytechnic institutions in the country.
In the communique titled, ‘Contentious Document on Schemes of Service for Polytechnics’ delivered at the NEC meeting of ASUP, the union’s National President, Shammah Kpanja, said the document approved as Schemes of Service for Polytechnics did not reflect the outcome of series of consultative engagements between the NBTE and stakeholders for over six years.

The communique states: “Following a critical review of the document by the NEC of the union, and in pursuit of our union’s commitment to the advancement of the interest of members and the polytechnics in Nigeria, the following resolutions were made.
“In view of the fact that several provisions in the document fell short of the expected standards as earlier observed, our union is hereby issuing a 15-day ultimatum to proprietors of all public polytechnics for the owners of the document, NBTE, to
suspend implementation of the identified provisions until the requisite amendments are effected.

“The ultimatum is with effect from Monday, July 8, 2024. At the expiration of the 15-day ultimatum, the union’s NEC will reconvene to decide a specific and legitimate course of action to address the issue.
“Zones and chapters of the union are to prepare members for necessary action within the 15 days ultimatum through congresses, peaceful protests, and media campaigns on the issue”.
Kpanja said the approval route for the reviewed scheme of service, which gave rise to significant and contentious alterations, is legally questionable, adding that the role of the Office of the Head of Civil Service of The Federation (OHCSoF) as approving authority, is unaccepted.

According to him, ASUP viewed the unfair career progression guide in the sector particularly as it affects the teaching and non-teaching staff cadres as a recipe for crises as it was not reflective of the remuneration accruing to the cadres.

“The unwholesome and condemnable discrimination against holders of Higher National Diploma certificates as against holders of Bachelor’s degrees from Universities was further entrenched in the document.

“Several provisions in the controversial document eroded gains made in our union’s battle against this condemnable act. We affirm that Polytechnics cannot discriminate against its products in the manner prescribed in this document.

“This is evident in the provision of discriminatory entry points into the Lecturer cadre for degree holders and HND holders; lowering the career progression bar of holders of HND both in the teaching and non-teaching cadres.

The union also kicked against the “discrimination against holders of HND in the appointment of Registrars and Bursars irrespective of their possession of higher-level certificates, classification of technologists as non-teaching staff etc.”

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