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No end in sight yet for disparity between First Degree/HND – FG



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No end in sight yet for disparity between First Degree/HND – FG

***Poly Rectors, ASUP, others tell FG to end HND/degree dichotomy now

By Sunday Joseph

The Federal Government may have opened up to the reality of the issues in the controversy over the dichotomy between Higher National Diploma and University degree that it can only be resolved when the curricula of the two levels are harmonised. For a lasting resolution the Government insisted that the National Universities Commission(NUC) and National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) must come together to develope a curriculum that will be up to date and the same instead of reinventing the will. This is just as the Polytechnic rectors, lecturers, students and other stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to end the dichotomy between degree and Higher National Diploma (HND) holders in the country.
Also the Senate President Ahmad Lawan described the discrimination against graduates of polytechnics as “undesirable.”
They spoke on Monday during a public hearing on a bill for an act to abolish and prohibit discrimination between First degree and higher national Diplomas for the purpose of employment in Nigeria and other matters connected herewith. S. B [297]
Representatives of Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Forum of Nigeria Polytechnic Alumni Associations (FONPAA), National Association of Academic Technologists (NAAT), Committee of Federal Polytechnic Rectors, all spoke against the discrimination against polytechnic graduates.
Lawan said the HND/degree dichotomy has really affected significant number of people in a way considered undesirable.
The National Chairman of polytechnic alumni association, Obialor Ibebuike, said if Nigerian government was serious about its technological development, the dichotomy should be abolished and polytechnics be well funded. 
“China recently converted six hundred (600) universities to well funded, researchedbased Polytechnics to further boost their industrial and economic growth. The same strategy had earlier been adopted by South Korea. 
“This, we believe, is the way to go in our country, if we are really serious in catching up with the developed world,” he said. 
The Committee of Federal Polytechnic Rectors, said abolishing the dichotomy between HND and degree holders would end the ill-treatment melted out on the polytechnic graduates in the labour market. 
However, Permanent Secretary service policies and strategies in the office of the Head of service of the FederationMr. Emmanuel Meribole, who represented the Head of service presented what he said were the facts about the controversy.”We have been recieving series of petitions and appeals on this dichotomy. It would be good for us to make the position of the National Council of Establishment very clear on the matter. “As you are aware the National Council of Establishment was established in 1957 and the essence of that council of establishment is to avoid disparity between Federal and State Governments in respect of conditions of work of all officers in the public service.”For us to look at this dichotomy well it will be important for us to speak the fact on the face. “You need to know that for us to place officers in different cadres is dependent on one the qualification of the officer, secondly years spent in the university, the kind of disciple of the individual and the basic qualification in the disciplines is also crucial.”The last speaker had alluded to the fact that for HND holders and the national Diploma level that they enter the institution with 4 credit  as against the 5 credits of Universities.At this point the hall that was packed full with the proponents of the bill erupted in almost jerring at the Permanent secretary, Explaining his position better he sai when he went to school it used to be 4 credits but now it is 5 creditsContinuing he said the second thing “I am stating the fact of the case and you are murmuring.”According to him,”Also in the universities you have people that have different courses curriculum different from what you have in the polytechnic.
He acknowledged the fact that the head of service has been inundated with a lot of memos, appeals and petitions.”I might also remind us that we have commissions set up by the federal Government which is the Longe commission of 1990, we also had the Shonekon Commission or committee of 2006. “Based on all these there was a white paper released by the head of civil service by 2013/ 2014 when she had a meeting with all stakeholders and based on that a memo was presented by the ministry of education and the national council of establishment at its 39th last meeting in Minna Niger State.”Certain resolutions were taken; disparities between degree holders and HND on placement at entry point was removed. So HND has the same placement at grade level 08 like the degree holders but for the HND holders to move above level 14  the resolution also stated that they need to do a bridging program which is the PGD.”
He said there is what is called the schemes of service, which are statutory documents for conditions of service, “These are there and for you to move from one level to the other there is what we call conversion from one particular cadre to the other. There was another uproar in the hall indicating their displeasure but the Senate committee chairman on Tertiary Education and TETFUND Ahmad Babba Kaita cuts in,”It is not fair, you had your chance to speak, he is giving you the true position and your are obstructing, after all you need their support, so allow him to make his case nobody should interrupt him again.
Continuing the permanent secretary said”That conversion stipulates for HND holders to do a bridging program called Post Graduate Diploma before Masters that is what is obtainable now. “Again I also want us to understand the fact that this issue of dichotomy has been severally discussed in the federal ministry of education and the last council decision on it was that the ministry of Education, National Board of Technical Education and National Universities commission should all come together with a view to reviewing the curriculum of HND holders to make it the same with Bachelors Degree. 

He said the decision was taken as far back as 2018 and we are still on it. He said, “For us to realistically address this position we need to go back and ensure the right things are done.”Ensure that the appropriate resolutions of the National Council on establishment is adhered on the matter which is for NUC, NBTE should come together and develope a curriculum that will be up to date and the same instead of reinventing the will.”

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Polytechnic Alumni fingered in students protest amidst N150 million fraud allegation




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Polytechnic Alumni fingered in students protest amidst N150 million fraud allegation

By Umar Egbunu Muhammed, Lafia

The Isa Musthapha Agwai (IMA) Polytechnic, Lafia, Nasarawa State, Alumni Associstion has allegedly been accused of defrauding over 40, 000 students whooping sum of N150 million.
The said amount represented levy of N2000 each the students were made to pay for development to give the institution a face-lift.
NationalUpdate checks indicated that the association allegedly hired some hoodlums along with the students of the institution to stage a protest, owing to the fact that the school authority had blocked all the leakages of the previous portal which the body has been using to defraud the polytechnic and the students.

An impeccable sources from the institution indicated that the decision taken by the management in blocking all the leakages and going ahead to open another portal did not go down well with the Alumni, hence the protest by the students.

Credible sources with knowledge about the protest told NationalUpdate that the school management did not hike tuition fees as being alleged by the Alumni, adding that while the protest was going on over two hundred students registered on the new portal opened by the management.

According to the sources, the allegation levelled against the polytechnic by the Alumni was false and capable of bringing the integrity of the council, the management and the rector of the institution in particular to disrepute.

Another source, within the polytechnic community, said the alumni targeted the rector to make the state government suspend the entire council so as to pave way for them to return to their nefarious act of defrauding the institution, amidst decline in the revenue generation of the Polytechnic.

NationalUpdate gathered that when the new rector, Mrs. Justina Kotso came on board, she discovered that there were a lot of leakages on the institution’s portal.

It was further learnt that some staff reportedly connived with the Alumni body to issue out fake receipts and printing out of fake statement of results as well as collecting examination fees from the students to the tune of N150 million.

It was further gathered that the association executive that was innaugurated in 2014 has been holding sway till 2020 before the new rector was appointed by the visitor of the polytechnic, the Nasarawa state governor, Mr. Abdullahi Sule to replace the former rector, Dr. Silas Gyar.

It would be recalled a report had painted a vivid picture of how the former rector was suspended alongside his allies who were alleged to have defrauded the polytechnic of funds to the tune of over N2 billion.

Those who worked with the former rector during the financial crisis were, Mr. Labani Joseph-Dio, and Abdullahi Akyo, Registrar and Bursar respectively that were fired by the former governor of the state, senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura following alleged corruption and misappropriation of funds meant for the development of the institution to the tune of over N2 billion.

Mohammed Bako, Chairman Governing Council of the Polytechnic, said the governor’s decision then was in line with government white paper report on the investigative committee into the activities of the institution.

NationaUpdate reports that the dismissed staff were sent on compulsory leave October 26, 2017 to pave way for an investigation into their activities.

Findings by The NationalUpdate also indicated that during the reign of the former rector, the Polytechnic was generating ₦450 million as Internally Generated Revenue (IGR), annually as revealed by a lecturer in the department of accounting.

It was learnt that the whistle-blower was later suspended by the institution’s management over the act. The IGR wad mostly generated from the sales of admission forms, and admission letters. But the larger chunk of revenue comes from the Consultancy Services Units that is enough to sustain the institution.

Feelers from the institution, disclosed that after discovering leakages, the rector of the polytechnic ordered for the immediate
closure of old portal and introduced a new portal.
However the situation reportedly did not go down with the alumni and other staff alkeged to have been conniving with the embattled alumni exco who were asked to stay action.
They however went ahead to instigate students and non-students of the polytechnic, in wild protest.

It was further learnt that one of the students of alumni (name withheld) was caught with two fake receipts he was issuing to students during examination adding the suspect is still cooling his heels in police custody as he is being investigated.

Sources within the polytechnic community confided in our correspondent that the operatives of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps submitted a report to the management of the polytechnic, warning all parties involved to stay action adding that the election of new alumni exco remains null and avoid as investigation into the protest is ongoing.

Consequently, the state governor Abdullahi Sule when he visited the ICT center to inspect the level of destruction of the institution’s properties, frowned at the attitude of the alumni body as well as some staff who were allegedly involved in milking the polytechnic dry of funds.

“I knew that some staff of the polytechnic have been defrauding the institution and I am not happy with that. So whoever that instigated the protest will no go unpunished, they must be brought to book to serve as deterrent to others,” Governor Sule vowed.

Reacting to the protest and alleged defrauding of students to the tune
of N150 million, the national President of the alumni in the IMA polytechnic, Mr. Ogbele Arenya, described the allegation as false.

On the inauguration of the new exco, he noted that, there was no official document from the Governing Council halting the inauguration of the new excos, arguing that only a competent court of law could
issue an injunction halting the inauguration, hence, he proceeded with the inauguration of the new exco.

He, however, maintained that the N2000 alumni fees collected from the students could be accounted for as it was utilized for the purchase of computers in the school, renovation of multipurpose hall, sponsorship of students and many others.

He added that the alumni was not linked to the students protest, arguing that they had their issue with the polytechnic before the students unrest.

His words: “We are not linked to the protest. The election we had was a credible one in the eyes of credible observers and even some members of the state Independent Electoral Commission as well as security agencies in the state.”

“We decided to hold our election outside the school premises because when we came around for the election, we were ordered out by the security agents at the school gate saying that only staff from level 13 and above would be allowed entry to the school compound by the management,” He stated.

He, however, claimed that they were not given opportunity to air their grievances, hence the conduct of the election outside the school premises.

NationalUpdate reports that on March 11, 2021 angry students of the Isa Musthapha Agwai Polytechnic, Lafia, Nasarawa State staged a protest against the closure of the school’s registration portal by the institution.

It would be recalled that on March 12, 2021 no fewer than 27 students of the IMAP, Lafia were been arrested in connection with the protest by the police in Nasarawa state.

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NTI Examinations’ Conduct In Kogi Is Quite Impressive – Education Commissioner




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NTI Examinations’ Conduct In Kogi Is Quite Impressive – Education Commissioner

By Stephen Adeleye

The Kogi State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology, Hon. Wemi Jones, FCIB, on Monday described the conduct of the ongoing National Teachers’ Institute (NTI) Examinations in the state as ‘quite impressive’.

Jones made the statement while speaking to journalists shortly after monitoring the conduct of the National Certificate of Education (NCE) and Bachelors Degree Programme examinations at Holy Trinity Primary School centre in Lokoja.

The Commissioner noted that the NTI Council had a three-day meeting in Abuja last week where the council members were mandated to visit examination centres in their respective States to monitor the conduct of the exams.

According to him, the monitoring of the ationwide exercise is to ensure that examination standards are maintained and complied with,

”So, we are here today at Holy Trinity Primary school exam centre Lokoja, to ensure that standard are complied with.

”So far, I must say that I am quite impressive because nobody was aware that the commissioner was coming to visit; and I think the standard are being maintained and it is quite impressive.

”Tomorrow, we will be visiting exam centres outside Lokoja, to also monitor and see what is happening in other centres outside Lokoja municipal.

”We want to check and see whether it is only in Lokoja that the standards are being maintained, or the standards are also being maintained statewide”, Jones said.

Also speaking, Mr Sodiq Shehu Abubakar, from Quality Assurance and ICT Department, NTI Kaduna, who was in Kogi to supervise the exams, told journalists that the exams had been moving on smoothly without hitches.

”I have been sent here for monitoring and evaluation of the conduct of NTI examinations in Kogi State, and so far things have been moving smoothly as you can see.

”The candidates are teachers who have intentions of upgrading themselves on the job or those who seek to secure teaching qualifications and want to improve themselves.

”Presently, we are having BDP and NCE examinations ongoing. On Saturday, we will also hold exam for Postgraduate students who have graduated but does not have any teaching qualifications”, Abubakar said.

The Commissioner was accompanied by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Governor on Education, Hon. Mohammed Ohiani.


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KGSG Tasks 19 Northern States On Sustenance Of Students’ Exchange Programme




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KGSG Tasks 19 Northern States On Sustenance Of Students’ Exchange Programme

By Ademu Seidu

The Kogi State Government has urged the Nineteen (19) Northern States to sustain the Students’ Exchange Programme (SEP) to ensure that the aim of its establishment are effectively achieved.

The State Commissioner for Education, Science and Technology Hon. Wemi Jones, FCIB, made the call at a three-Day Pre-Inspection Meeting of the Monitoring Inspectors of the Programme holding at the ministry’s Conference hall in Lokoja.

Jones said that the SEP among the 19 northern states had been in existence for ages and should be sustained by ensuring adequate security, better welfare for the students and quality teachers.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Pastor Emanuel Idenyi, Jones said Kogi was doing its best to see to the welfare and improvement of the academic performances of the students in the two schools in the state.

He stressed that the essence of the SEP was to foster unity and improve academic excellence amongst the States

The commissioner urged the participants to always take the issue of security seriously by building perimeter fencing around the schools as well as providing enough security for the schools and checking on them from time to time.

‘At the level of our state, we are trying our best to ensure that the right things are done. We have ensured we treated the students like our children and provide best teachers and welfare for them.

”I want to believe that other States are trying their best in doing the same too.

”We should try as much as possible to sustain the gesture; we met on ground and we must strive to keep the legacy and build on it”, he said.

He further urged the participants to observe COVID-19 protocols even though Kogi had been free of the virus.

Earlier, the Director, Kogi State Basic and Secondary Education, Mrs Sarah Agbaji, said the ministry would continue to support and encourage the programme because of its objectives and benefits

She urged the government to maintain the existing structure and facilities to enhance smooth running of the programme.

Agbaji noted that checking on the students unannounced by the Monitoring Inspectors from time to time and interacting with them would encourage discipline and academic excellence.

She thanked the Commissioner and the Permanent Secretary for being so supportive in ensuring that the aims and objectives of the exchange programme were achieved.

She further thanked the Commissioner for providing the enabling environment for them to operate.

Also speaking, the Chairperson, SEP Monitoring Inspection Unit, from Kaduna State, Hajiya Hannatu Gwani, appreciated Kogi State Government for hosting the nineteen northern states

She further urged the participants to be ICT compliant to ease their work and enable them compete favorably with their counterparts in the other parts of the world.

A participant from Nasarawa State, Alhaji Aliyu Yahaya, comended the government for their efforts, stressing the need for the schools to always send their students back to their respective States on time and avoid night journeys.

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