In the new scheme of service approved for Nigerian Polytechnics, holders of Higher National Diploma (HND) with good grades can now be appointed as Academic Staff (Graduate Assistants) like their degree counterparts.

This was disclosed recent during the formal presentation of the new Schemes of Service to the Polytechnics stakeholders by the Executive Secretary of the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), Prof. Idris Mohammed Bugaje.

The NBTE boss, while presenting the Scheme of Service as approved by the Head of Service, Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan, said under the new schemes, the Instructor Cadre, which represented segregation against HND holders in the past, has been abolished.

Bugaje stated that, the new Schemes of Service, which became operational from June 7, 2024, presents a unified approach to the recruitment and promotion of staff across Nigerian Polytechnics, Federal, State, and even private.

He said, “From June 7, 2024, all previous versions of the Schemes of Service cease to become legal tender. From now on, we will all be united to operate the new Schemes of Service in the Nigerian Polytechnic System (NPS).

“This milestone has taken over a decade of struggle and efforts by our Staff Unions, Rectors of Polytechnics through their COHEADS/COFER bodies, the Federal Ministry of Education, and the NBTE. I must commend all of you for all your contributions and pray that we shall operationalise the new Schemes of Service with all sense of responsibility.

“When I took office in April 2021, I announced my 3-S Agenda as my key areas of focus as Executive Secretary, namely the Skills development agenda, the Spirit of work in the NBTE, which must be revived and a new Scheme of service that gives recognition to the products of the Nigerian Polytechnic System. With gratitude to Allah, the Most High, I am glad to announce that, working with you as a team, we have achieved all three within 3 years.

“Schemes of Service cannot be said to be perfect since they are man-made and could still be subject to future reviews. But we are happy with the new Schemes for the following innovations: HND Holders with good grades are now to be appointed as Academic Staff (Graduate Assistants), like their degree counterparts, in a system that is theirs.

“The Instructor Cadre, which represents segregation against HND holders in the past, has been abolished. The Technician cadre has been subsumed by the Technologist cadre, allowing ND holders to be appointed as Assistant Technologists.

“The Pharmacy Technology Cadre has been maintained. For those with a HND in Pharmacy Technology but who may not be allowed to work in hospitals by the Pharmacy Council of Nigeria, their space in the public service has been retained.

“An area of contention raised by ASUP is the terminal level for the Registry Cadre which is now the Deputy Registrar (CONTEDISS 15) since the position of the Registrar is tenured on consolidated salary like other principal officers.

“This matter is easily resolvable because the salary of the Registrar Cadre is CONTEDISS, not CONPCASS (academic staff). Equally, an area of concern for other Unions (SSANIP and NASU) is that skipping has been abolished. This is open for discussion with the HoSF to streamline this position along with the provisions in other public service cadres.

“The requirement of NSQ Level 3 minimum for Senior Lecturers and above is a positive step aimed at institutionalising skills training in the Polytechnics. Let me advise that current lecturers seeking promotion to senior level shall be given a three-year moratorium to acquire the NSQ (or its equivalent) and, where necessary, shall be offered Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to qualify.

“This provision shall check the inflow of academic staff from universities into our Polytechnics, especially those who may not have skills or qualifications. On the overall, the new Schemes of Service presents a unified approach to the recruitment and promotion of staff across Nigerian Polytechnics, Federal, State, and even private.

“We shall use it as an accreditation instrument in old and new Institutions in terms of compliance. These marvellous achievements were made possible by the Mother of Skills Development in Nigeria, the Head of Service of the Federation, a pillar of support for the Polytechnic sector, and a fair arbiter in our affairs, Dr Mrs Folasade Yemi-Esan. We are most grateful for her tireless efforts culminating in today’s celebration.

“We are equally grateful to the two ministers of education and the permanent secretary for their unyielding support. Our staff unions have shown solidarity and steadfastness, which is well acknowledged,” Bugaje said.

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