Fedpoly ASUP Faults New Poly Service Scheme, Says ‘ll Further Marginalise HND Holders

Segun Awofadeji in Bauchi

The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP), Federal Polytechnic (Fedpoly), Bauchi chapter has expressed worry over the newly introduced Polytechnic Service Scheme.

Speaking at a press conference held at the Senator Ali Wakili Complex, ASUP Secretariat in FPTB, yesterday, the acting Chairman of the union, Esther Adebitan, citing several contentious issues in the approved scheme, she expressed fear that it would further  marginalised Higher National Diploma (HND) holders in comparison to their counterparts with university degrees.

She emphasised that the discrimination against holders of HND certificates as against holders of bachelor’s degrees from universities was further entrenched in the scheme.

According to her, “It is noteworthy to point out that a 15 days ultimatum in line with extant labour laws has been served the Federal government through the Federal Ministry of Education and NBTE effective from July 8, 2024, to suspend provisions containing these anomalies with a view to the review of such provisions or face diverse forms of industrial action by our union.

“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; 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 and so on.”

The ASUP acting chairman explained that having deliberated extensively on the contents of the ‘controversial document’  and after further scrutiny by the union’s Think Tank Committee, as well as the Council of National, Officers (CNO) of the union at the 110th meeting of the union’s NEC, it  hereby communicates the following specific findings: “The document approved as Scheme of Service for Polytechnics contains significant and fundamental deviations from the document prepared by stakeholders in the sector and coordinated through a series of consultative engagements by the NBTE for over six years.

“The document’s approval route which gave rise to the significant and contentious alterations is legally questionable as the role of The Office of The Head of Civil Service of the Federation as an approving authority is challengeable.

“Our conviction is that the Head of Civil Service of the Federation cannot be preparing or approving a document on career development of staff, including assessment of such staff for career growth when she is neither an employer nor regulator.

“The status of Nigerian polytechnics was again brought to question by this controversial document. The tertiary educational institution status of polytechnics is settled in different laws and policy instruments.”

She added: “Therefore, the introduction of sub-tertiary level qualifications like in this instance the National Skills Qualifications (NSQ) as mandatory conditions for academic staff career growth is a misnomer as the possession of NSQ has no meaningful contribution to the delivery of the contents of the curricula of the different programmes offered at the tertiary education level in polytechnics.”

She stated further that “the contentious document curiously, unjustifiably and unacceptably elongate the career progression steps of the lecturer cadre from a 7 step to a 9-step career development cadre and at the same time added an extra year for promotion to the final two levels.

“This implies that anyone on the lecturer cadre will now endure a minimum of 26 tortuous years from the base to the highest level. This is not acceptable particularly in view of the fact that this deviates from the norm in other sub sectors and that the retirement age in the sector remains unchanged.

“The release of documents by the NBTE subtly amending some provisions and seeking approval for amendment of others amounts to an admission of guilt and a halfhearted attempt at lifting the mourning mood in the sector imposed by the release of the contentious scheme of service.

“This is unsatisfactory and self-indicting  on the commitment of the NBTE to the ideals and aspirations of the Nigeria polytechnic system.”

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