House to Investigate NSCDC’s  Failure to Comply with Abolition of HND,B.Sc Dichotomy

House to Investigate NSCDC’s  Failure to Comply with Abolition of HND,B.Sc Dichotomy

Juliet Akoje in Abuja

The House of Representatives has mandated its Committees on Public Service Matters and Interior to investigate the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) over his failure to comply with the Board and Ministry’s approval on the abolition of the HND and B.Sc. dichotomy like its counterpart under the Nigerian Civil Defence Corps, Fire, Immigration and Prisons Board

The House also urged the Commandant General of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) to promote all qualified personnel and pay the arrears of emoluments they might have lost as a result of the failure of the NSCDC to promote them as at when due.

Consequently,  the House urged the Head of Service to comply with all existing circulars abrogating the dichotomy between HND and B.Sc. in the Civil Service.

These resolutions followed the adoption of a motion on the Need to Investigate the Career Stagnation caused by Discrimination between Higher National Diploma (HND) and Bachelor Degree holders in the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps moved by Hon. Ime Bassey Okon at plenary  yesterday.

Okon noted that the persistent discrimination between Polytechnics and University certificate holders in civil service with regards to employment and promotion, with Higher National Diploma Holders (HND) limited to Salary Grade 14 and Degree Holders reaching Grade 17 before retirement from service, despite government policies to reverse the practice.

Adding that in terms of academic discipline, the HND holders outperform B.Sc. holders in practical aspects, as 70 per cent of learning in Polytechnics is practical, aiming to equip graduates with technical knowledge for self reliance.

He stressed that in developed nations, HND and Degree holders are employed at the same grade level, prioritizing competence, cognate experience, and graduate offerings, unlike Nigeria’s emphasis on status and paper qualifications.

“The United Kingdom Polytechnics system has transitioned into Universities or Degree awarding institutions, but the Nigerian education system still hinders the advancement and self reliance of polytechnic education.”

“The National Assembly recently passed a bill to eliminate the discrimination and disparities between the two certificates, the legislation sought to resolve the dichotomy controversy and promote Nigeria’s technological advancement by encouraging many qualified students to pursue polytechnics and technology based studies.”

“In 2006, President Obasanjo reversed a discriminatory policy limiting HND holders from rising above grade 14 in public service, directing the former Chief of Staff and Head of Service to prepare a position paper. Also, under President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua,  the Federal Executive Council removed the salary ceiling for HND holders. President Muhammadu Buhari criticised the disparity, leading to a circular in 2018 stating that HND holders will enjoy salary grade level 08 in Civil Service.”

He further noted that the Civil Defence Fire, Immigration and Prisons Board approved the abolition of the bachelor’s degree and HND distinction in Ministry of Interior services, with Lt. Gen. Abdulrahman Dambazau directing the implementation and rank harmonisation.

And that despite policy directives and approvals, discrimination against HND holders persists in private and public agencies, particularly in paramilitary agencies, where the dichotomy was abolished in 2016 due to no sanctions for non compliance.

Okon raised a concern that the NSCDC has experienced career stagnation among 2012 HND intakes, with B.Sc. colleagues being promoted multiple times to Superintendent of Corps, a situation that goes against Civil Service regulations and creates bad blood among the rank and file of the Corps.

“Junior officers with School Certificates in 2012 who later earned a part time B.Sc. degree were promoted to senior ranks and Assistant Superintendent of Corps, leading to a decrease in morale and motivation among their HND counterparts. Also from 2012 to 2022, NSCDC recruits with HND failed to be promoted four times, while their B.Sc. counterparts were promoted twice. This discrimination led to HND intakes resolving not to sit for future promotions, as it has become futile.”

However,  he said the discrimination against polytechnic graduates hinders technology driven development, leading to poor living standards, negative balance sheets, and low per capita income.

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