The Senate has passed a bill that seeks to end discrimination between First Degrees and Higher National Diplomas (HND).
The bill scaled the third reading on Wednesday, after the lawmakers received and considered the report of the Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions, which contained six clauses.
The report was presented by the chairman, Ahmad Kaita.
The bill, sponsored by Ayo Akinyelure (PDP, Ondo Central), seeks to resolve the controversy over wage disparity and gross discrimination against HND holders in the public and private sectors of the economy.
It also seeks to promote Nigeria’s technological advancement by encouraging many qualified candidates to pursue polytechnic and technological studies.
In his lead debate during the second reading, Mr Akinyelure had said discrimination against HND holders threatens to ruin the nation’s core policy thrust of evolving a technological and scientifically based society.
Findings, he said, 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, he said.
Some senators, however, argued that rather than seeking to abolish the dichotomy, efforts should be made to transform all polytechnics to degree-awarding institutions.
A public hearing on the bill was held in March and concerned parties, who submitted their memorandum, supported the legislation.
Presenting the report, Mr Kaita said the bill, when passed and assented to, will give polytechnic graduates confidence and impact on 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.
“Congratulations to the senate. This particular 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,” the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan remarked.
The House of Representatives has since passed its own version of the bill. A conference committee will be set up by both chambers to harmonise the proposed law after which the bill will be sent to the president for assent.
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