The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) has issued a clarification regarding the newly introduced online top-up programme for Higher National Diploma (HND) holders seeking to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree from foreign accredited universities. Contrary to earlier interpretations, the program is not intended for all HND holders, but exclusively for those aspiring to an academic career.
Professor Idris Bugaje, the Executive Secretary of NBTE, had announced the initiative earlier this month, emphasizing its potential to alleviate challenges faced by HND holders across the country. The program entails a one-year top-up pathway in collaboration with select foreign universities.
Addressing misconceptions, Hajia Fatima Abubakar, Head of the NBTE Media Unit, released a statement on Tuesday to clarify the scope of the program. It is specifically tailored for individuals seeking careers within academic environments, including teaching and research positions in universities and polytechnics.
“This top-up option serves as an alternative to the Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) offered by Nigerian universities,” Abubakar explained. “In our democratic setting, HND holders are granted the choice between pursuing a PGD and opting for the top-up to a Bachelor’s degree.”
The statement emphasized that the introduction of the top-up initiative does not signify the termination of HND programs within polytechnics. Rather, it offers HND holders a choice to align their academic journey with a focused career path. The initial collaboration with foreign universities demonstrates the program’s global applicability, with the anticipation that Nigerian universities may adopt the concept in the future.
The program’s cost is set at a reasonable rate, approximately 10 percent of the fees paid by regular face-to-face students. NBTE’s motive behind launching this initiative is to empower interested HND holders to stand on equal footing with their peers who hold Bachelor’s degrees. Additionally, this streamlined approach is aimed at facilitating the pursuit of Master’s and Doctorate degrees for those inclined towards academic careers.
Professor Bugaje underscored the importance of the program by highlighting that some PhD holders had regressed to earn a Bachelor’s degree from Nigerian universities after completing their doctorates, illustrating the need for a more progressive pathway. He emphasized that the HND qualification holds its unique value and the top-up program serves as an encouragement for individuals to engage in polytechnic education while providing an avenue for academic advancement.
“This approach will not compromise the essence of technical education but rather enhance it,” Bugaje explained.
The clarification comes in response to a range of misconceptions surrounding the program’s intent and impact, as reported in sections of the media. With this statement, NBTE aims to shed light on the program’s objectives and underscore its strategic value in promoting both technical and academic education pathways.