The Coalition of HND Stakeholders say passage of the bill to abolish the dichotomy between first degree and Higher National Diploma holders (HND) by the National Assembly is a welcomed development.
National Coordinator of the Coalition, Mr. Sebastian Onyemaobi, stated this at a news conference in Abuja
Onyemaobi also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to swiftly assent to the bill, stressing that this will provide relief and gladden the hearts of millions of polytechnic and monotechnic students.
He said that the Act would impact positively on almost every household as HND holders would now have a respite.
“The passage of this monumental bill has therefore rekindled the joy, hope, and self-esteem of millions of HND holders who over the years have been traumatized due to unwarranted discrimination.
“Furthermore, this uncommon bill passed by the National Assembly will indeed provide succor to the unwarranted discrimination, harsh and inhuman treatments at their workplaces in both public and private sectors.
“It is on this note therefore that we cannot appreciate enough, this awesome legislation by the two hallowed chambers of the National Assembly,” he said.
According to Onyemaobi, the legislation was enacted to address a major societal injustice and one of the key setbacks to technological growth and the nation’s quest for industrialization.
He said that the legislation would put an end to the outdated class-concept and certificate-based approach being practiced in the country.
“This legislation will put an end to the inordinate quest at all costs for mere educational certificates, and promote the quest for knowledge, skills, and expertise.
“A legislation that will discourage indolence and mediocrity, but encourages excellence and diligence in the work place.
“A legislation that will provide equity and level playing ground for all graduates and allow every graduate to be assessed objectively based on competence and performance as well as strengthen the educational institutions,” he added.
Onyemaobi said that while waiting for the signing of the bill into law, HND holders and indeed the polytechnic system would work hard to live up to expectations and justify the confidence reposed on them.
He also assured that the holders would be greatly propelled to utilize their talents and potential to the fullest and contribute immensely to national development.
Also, Mr. Sunday Asuku, National President, National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPST), appealed to President Buhari to register his footprints in the sand of time by assenting to the bill.
Asuku said this would allow for a level playing ground for all graduates in the country.
He added that technology was the bedrock of any developed nation, hence the need for the country to uphold polytechnic education.
The Federal Executive Council had on Sept. 27, 2006, directed through a White Paper that the undue dichotomy and ceiling on salary grade level/rank attainable by HND holders be removed.
The coalition comprises over 40 associations and groups comprising polytechnic and monotechnic students, HND holders as well as trade unions and associations whose members are HND holders.
By Georgina Humphrey