Civil Service Chairman Wants HND Programmes Scrapped

Civil Service Chairman Wants HND Programmes Scrapped

Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission, Prof Tunji Olaopa, has called for the phasing out of Higher National Diploma (HND) programmes offered by polytechnics in Nigeria.

At a dialogue organised by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) in Abuja, Olaopa proposed a comprehensive overhaul of the educational system to address the professional conflict between B.Sc./B.Tech. and HND holders.

Referencing a 2007 memorandum from the Heads of Polytechnics and Colleges of Technology (COHEADS), Olaopa suggested converting polytechnics into campuses of nearby universities, with major polytechnics evolving into full-fledged universities of technology.

Central to his proposal is the abolition of HND qualifications while retaining National Diplomas (NDs) as entry requirement for the restructured university and technology school system.

He envisioned establishing two distinct streams of B.Sc. (Technology) and B.Tech., with B.Tech. programmes focusing on practical skills development tailored to meet industry demands.

Olaopa commended institutions like the First Technical University, Ibadan, for pioneering this model and stressed the importance of rigorous curriculum redesign and faculty development to support the transition.

He also suggested expanding the ND programme to accommodate vocational training, incorporating elements of the City and Guild certification for enhanced practical skill acquisition.

„In so doing – and this for me is the game-changer – HND should be scrapped, while the National Diploma (ND) should be retained as a qualifying certificate for entrance into the new and old universities of technology and schools of technology affiliates of existing universities,“ Olaopa said.

He added, „The design should create two streams of B.Sc. (Technology) and B.Tech., with B.Tech. designed to focus on inculcating technical skills and competencies across the middle to the very high levels of jobs and careers, a model which the First Technical University, Ibadan (on whose Governing Council I was one of the pioneer members) is attempting to pioneer.“

Olaopa said the curricula and pedagogical remodelling of the OND-B.Tech certification will involve training for demand-driven end users’ skills, with faculty drawn significantly from scholars-practitioners and professors of practice—practically oriented lecturers with strong backgrounds in theory and research.

He proposed expanding the National Diploma (ND) to fill the space for technical and vocational training programmes, embedding the City and Guild certification to reinforce practical skill acquisition.

He emphasised the need for aggressive staff development, facilities upgrade, and increased funding to support these changes.

Inspired by the German dual vocational training model, Olaopa proposed a hybrid approach integrating theoretical knowledge with practical experience, with costs shared between the government and the business sector.

Expressing skepticism about past initiatives to address the B.Sc./HND dichotomy, Olaopa urged caution in implementing reforms that could undermine the distinct educational objectives of polytechnics and universities.

He emphasized the need to preserve the unique roles of polytechnics and universities while exploring avenues for collaboration.

In conclusion, Olaopa‘s proposal advocates for a holistic restructuring of Nigeria‘s higher education system to bridge the gap between academic theory and practical skills acquisition.


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