The National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), has introduced a new online top-up program designed for Higher National Diploma (HND) holders. The program allows them to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree within a year, partnering with foreign accredited universities. This initiative is specifically intended for HND holders aspiring to pursue an academic career.
Hajiya Fatima Abubakar, the spokesperson for NBTE’s Media Unit, clarified the details of the program in a statement released in Abuja on Tuesday. She quoted Prof. Idris Bugaje, the Chief Executive of the board, who explained that the program is not open to all HND holders, but rather to those with ambitions in academic roles like teaching and research within Polytechnics or Universities.
Bugaje highlighted that this new top-up option serves as an alternative to the Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) offered by Nigerian Universities. He asserted that in a democratic context, HND holders should have the choice to opt for either the PGD route or the top-up to BSc.
The clarification was prompted by misinterpretations of the program in certain media outlets. Bugaje emphasized that the top-up program does not signal the end of HND programs in Polytechnics. Instead, it provides HND holders an opportunity to align themselves with a path towards an academic career.
The program’s initial collaboration with foreign universities is aimed at showcasing its international recognition, and there is hope that Nigerian universities might adopt it in the future. The program’s cost is reasonable, approximately 10% of the fees paid by regular face-to-face students.
The NBTE designed this program to bridge the gap between interested Polytechnic HND holders and their counterparts with Bachelor’s degrees. It offers a smooth transition for those who wish to pursue Master’s and Doctorate degrees, particularly those interested in academic pursuits.
Bugaje, during the program’s launch earlier in the month, highlighted its potential to alleviate challenges faced by HND holders in Nigeria. He explained that the board sought an alternative approach, resulting in the one-year top-up program in collaboration with foreign universities.
He also addressed the phenomenon of PhD holders who had progressed academically from HND through PGD, then returning to enroll in BSc programs in Nigerian universities—a regressive step. Bugaje stressed that the HND qualification holds unique value and that the top-up program encourages candidates to consider polytechnic education as a pathway to academic advancement.
Importantly, Bugaje emphasized that the introduction of this program does not dilute the essence of technical education; rather, it enhances its scope and possibilities.
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