By Adedapo Adesanya
A bill to abolish the discrimination between holders of Higher National Diploma (HND) and Bachelor of Science (BSc) has been passed by the Senate.
The landmark bill was passed on Wednesday and the president of the upper chamber of the parliament, Mr Ahmad Lawan, said this will serve as a motivation to HND holders from polytechnics and monotechnics.
“This particular (HND discrimination) issue has been on the front burner for a long time.
“I recall that in the House (of Representatives) between 2003 and 2007, this was one bill that was so important and it is a way of encouraging our polytechnic graduates.
“This should not take away the kind of training they give but should be a motivation for our polytechnic graduates,” he said.
The bill, sponsored by Mr Ayo Akinyelure, proposed to resolve the controversy over wage disparity and gross discrimination against HND holders in the public and private sectors of the economy.
It also sought to promote Nigeria’s technological advancement by encouraging many qualified candidates to pursue polytechnic and technological studies.
Mr Akinyelure said the discrimination against HND holders threatens to ruin the nation’s core policy thrust of evolving a technological and scientifically based society.
He said findings had proved that some polytechnic graduates were, in some cases, better on the field than their university counterparts.
“A government employment policy that places degree holders ahead of HND holders without recourse to the skill and ability of the HND holders, thereof, does more harm than good to the nation’s development plans,” Mr Akinyelure said.
Some senators, however, argued that rather than seeking to abolish the dichotomy, efforts should be made to transform all polytechnics into degree-awarding institutions.
The bill scaled the third reading on Wednesday after the lawmakers received and considered the report of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions submitted by Mr Ahmad Kaita, which contained six clauses.
Mr Kaita said the bill, when signed by the President, will give polytechnic graduates confidence and impact the country’s economy, positively.
The lawmakers, thereafter, did a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill in the Committee of the Whole, after which it was passed.
The bill passage is sequel to the adoption of a report by the Senate Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
Presenting the report, Committee Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Shekarau, said the bill would help free HND holders from stagnation in public and private sectors and ensure balanced treatment for them with their university counterparts.
The bill is expected to be sent to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
Consider Plight of Students and Suspend Strike—Buhari Begs ASUU
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been urged to consider the plight of students and suspend the ongoing strike.
Speaking at the 19th National Productivity Day in Abuja on Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari said efforts are being made to resolve the lingering issues between the union and the federal government.
ASUU had earlier embarked upon a two-month warning to force the government to honour the agreement signed in 2009 but after nothing was done, it extended the industrial action for another three months.
At the conferment of the National Productivity Order of Merit Award (NPOM) on 48 eminent Nigerians and organisations in both the public and private sectors, for their high productivity, hard work and excellence, President Buhari disclosed that his administration recognises that the future of any nation is contingent on the standard of its educational system, promising to uplift the standard of the educational system in the country.
According to him, he earlier directed his Chief of Staff, the Ministers of Labour and Employment, Education, Finance, Budget and National Planning to immediately bring all parties to the negotiation table to again critically look at the grey areas in the demands of ASUU.
Mr Buhari expressed optimism that all the issues would be resolved, appealing to the lecturers to exercise patience. He also urged students in Nigeria’s public tertiary institutions to give the government time to address the nagging issues in the nation’s university system within the ambit of the resources available.
While speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, Achieving Higher Productivity through Improved Education System, the President disclosed that efforts would be made to “transform Nigeria into a competitive, strong, vibrant, productive and sustainable economy.”
“Quality educational system is good not just for the national economy; it is also good for the citizens,” he disclosed, emphasising that, “Ignoring the productivity dimension of education would endanger the prosperity of future generations, with widespread repercussions for poverty and social exclusion.”
According to him, “It will be difficult to improve our economic performance and overall productivity, without improving our educational system.”
He stated that the administration was aware of “the emergency situation in our educational system with particular reference to the dearth of qualified and dedicated teachers to enhance the quality of teaching and learning at all levels of our educational system.”
Some of the awardees were the late Dr Stella Adadevoh and Mr Babatunde Lawal.
Other were recipients the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr Abdullahi Adamu; the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustapha; immediate past Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), Dr Chike Ihekweazu; Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof Akin Abayomi; Chairman and Founder, BUA Group, Mr Abdusamad Rabiu; Chairman of Globacom, Mr Mike Adenuga Jnr; Professor Stanley Okolo, Director General of the West African Health Organization (WAHO) and Allen Onyema, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, among others.
Oyo Directs Schools to Resume Teaching of History
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
All public primary schools in Oyo State have been directed by the state government to immediately implement the teaching of History as an independent subject from this term (3rd term) of the 2021/2022 academic session.
The Executive Chairman of the Oyo State Universal Basic Education Board, Mr Nureni Adeniran, disclosed that the return of the subject to the curriculum would enable pupils to appreciate History as an instrument of national integration, adding that it would allow students to know the history of the country.
Speaking during the monitoring schools’ resumption in Ibadan, applauded the massive turnout of pupils in public primary schools,
He disclosed that the reintroduction of History is in line with the new education policy of the state government, applauding the leadership of the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) in Abuja for the technical support received, as well as the supply of textbooks.
Mr Adeniran said over 4,950 History textbooks are being distributed to public primary schools state-wide, adding that this will give pupils a proper understanding of the nation’s history.
The education expert said he was optimistic that the curriculum would equip the younger generations with the knowledge of the past, saying that the importance of history to nation building, patriotism and human development cannot be overemphasized.
Meanwhile, he equally appreciated the Heads of Public Primary schools across the state who have commenced academic activities immediately, saying the idleness of teachers or pupils would not be tolerated.
Mr Adeniran, who continued the monitoring exercise alongside other members of the board expressed satisfaction with the situation they met at some schools visited, compared to the turnout of pupils last week.
The Chairman, however, called on other parents, whose children are yet to return to school to kindly ensure they do so without hesitation, as academic activities have commenced.
ASUU Extends Ongoing Strike by Three Months
By Adedapo Adesanya
The ongoing strike embarked upon by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has been extended by additional 12 weeks (three months) after the two-month warning strike expired.
This was disclosed by the president of the union, Mr Emmanuel Osodeke on Monday.
In a statement he issued after an emergency National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting of the association at the University of Abuja, the ASUU president said the decision was to give the government enough time to resolve all outstanding issues with the lecturers.
“After extensive deliberations, noting the government’s failure to live up to its responsibilities and speedily address all the issues raised in the 2020 FGN/ASUU Memorandum of Action (MoA) within the additional eight-week roll–over strike period declared on 14th March 2022, NEC resolved that the strike be rolled over for twelve weeks to give Government more time to satisfactorily resolve all the outstanding issues,” the ASUU president’s statement read.
“The roll-over strike action is with effect from 12.01 a.m. on Monday, 9th May 2022,” he added.
ASUU also expressed dissatisfaction with the three-man panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in February to resolve the lingering industrial action.
“NEC was equally disappointed that ASUU’s only meeting with the Professor Nimi Briggs-led Renegotiation Committee did not reflect the expected level of understanding, preparation, and clarity that undergird collective bargaining going by the Committee’s confession of ‘going about consulting stakeholders’, the statement added.
“Unless urgent steps are taken to redirect the Committee on concluding a draft Agreement that has been pending since May 2021, its activities may end up as another wild goose chase,” ASUU said.
The union was also full of commendations for the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), students’ groups, and civil society organisations “who have taken steps towards resolving the current labour dispute with the Nigerian government”.
The planned trip by spouses of vice-chancellors, ASUU said, is despicable and condemnable.
“The advertised five-day conference in Istanbul is a waste of scarce resources of our universities; it is insensitive and provocative, particularly at a time like this when lecturers are denied their salaries for daring to struggle to improve the lot of our public universities,” ASUU maintained.
The extension came days after the Federal Government said it would resume talks with the striking lecturers this week.
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