The aged long battle between those holding Bachelor Degrees and Higher National Diplomas was finally laid to rest on Tuesday as the Senate passed a bill that prohibits employers in the country from discriminating between first degree and Higher National Diploma (HND) holders.
The passage of the bill was sequel to the consideration of a report by the Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters; and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.
The Chairman of the Joint Committee, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, while presenting the report said: “The enactment of the bill to abolish and prohibit discrimination between First Degrees and Higher National Diploma for the purpose of employment in Nigeria will no doubt free holders of HND from stagnation and ensure balanced treatment with their counterparts from other higher tertiary institutions in Nigeria.”
According to him, the abolishment of the existing dichotomy between HND holders and graduates of universities would meet the huge manpower needs of Nigerians, ensure social justice and enhance corporate governance, as well as encourage patriotic contributions amongst HND employees in both public and private sectors.
In his remarks after the passage of the bill, the Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, emphasised that the passage of the bill would serve as motivation for polytechnic graduates.
He, therefore, called on the public and private sectors to ensure the implementation of the bill’s provisions as soon as it is signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Lawan said: “This particular issue has been in 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 is one way of encouraging our polytechnic graduates.
“That should not take away from the kind of training they receive, but, in fact, it is supposed to be a motivation for our polytechnic graduates.
“[And] I pray that the federal government and all those government agencies and the private sector would start to implement this by the time the president assents to this bill.”