News

July 11, 2024

ASUP gives FG 15-day ultimatum over Scheme of Service for Polytechnics

ASUP gives FG 15-day ultimatum over Scheme of Service for Polytechnics

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo

Kaduna – Polytechnic lecturers in Nigeria have flayed a “contentious document” titled “Scheme of Service for Polytechnics by the National Board for Technical Education ( NBTE), alleging that it lacked inclusive stakeholder input, particularly from their union and stakeholders in the polytechnic sector.

The aggrieved lecturers issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government effective July 8, 2024, to suspend the implementation of “the rough work called “Scheme of Service for the Polytechnics” or face diverse forms of industrial action by our Union.

While addressing a press conference in Kaduna, the Zonal Coordinator, Zone A of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics( ASUP), Dr Abdulazeez Ibrahim Badaru, said it has become imperative to address critical concerns regarding the newly released Scheme of Service (SOS) for Polytechnics.

” These observations and reservations were meticulously discussed during the 110th National Executive Council (NEC) meeting of ASUP on July 4, 2024, as well as the Zonal Executive Officers of our Zone of the Union on the 10th July 2024.”

The Polytechnic lecturers observed and resolved that ” the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) released a document titled “Scheme of Service for Polytechnics” which lacks inclusive stakeholder input, particularly from our union and stakeholders in the polytechnic sector. It diverges significantly from a previously prepared document following extensive consultations and engagements that started since 2012, is seen as an intentional move by the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and the NBTE to sow discord within the polytechnic sector.”

They said the current document is opposed unless all points of contention are addressed.

“The importation of sub-tertiary level qualifications, such as the National Skills Qualifications (NSQ), as obligatory prerequisites for the career advancement of academic staff within the polytechnic is deemed laughable. The NSQ lacks substantive value in enhancing the delivery of curricula at the tertiary level in polytechnics, serving as an undue burden without corresponding professional development. Consequently, we vehemently reject its inclusion as a mandatory criterion for academic staff career advancement.”

“There is a concerning inconsistency in the entry points for Graduate Assistants, with the NBTE document lowering the bar for Bachelor degree holders while disadvantaging HND holders. Equivalent grades (e.g., Second Class Lower: Lower Credit) should be required at the Graduate Assistant level to ensure fairness. 4. The splitting of the Senior Lecturer level into Senior Lecturer II and Senior Lecturer 1
will create unnecessary complexities and further lengthen the lecturer cadre structure.”

“We demand a return to the status quo and a reduction of the lecturer cadre from a 9-step to a 7 -step structure, with a maximum three-year waiting period for progression between steps. The current document’s structure would necessitate a minimum of 26 years for a Graduate Assistant to reach the peak of their career, which is impractical, and demotivating compared to the progression of lecturers in the universities and the colleges of education with a minimum of 18 and 20 years respectively to reach the peak of their career.”

“The introduction of non-academic designations such as Assistant Director (Library) and Deputy Director (library) undermines the academic nature of the Librarian cadre and is unacceptable. A reversal to the academic nomenclature is demanded. 6. The reduction in terminal levels for various cadres, including Library Officer, Executive Officer, and Confidential Secretary, from CONTEDISS 14 to CONTEDISS 12, is unwarranted, demotivating, and detrimental to the polytechnic sector. This will further encourage and deepen students’ apathy in applying to study in the polytechnics. The Union demands the reversal of the unfair discrimination of the products of the same system that produces them.”

“Technologists play a vital role in the technological advancement of students and should be recognized as academic staff. The reclassification of Technologists as non-academic staff devalues their contributions and is unacceptable. 8. The preferential treatment given to Bachelor degrees over HND qualification for the
appointment of Registrars and Bursars is discriminatory. The document’s bias against Higher National Diploma holders undermines progress, against this unacceptable practice. The polytechnics should not discriminate against their graduates.”

“The failure to include the HND Pharmaceutical Technology program in the SoS, despite a court ruling, raises concerns about adherence to the law. The Union insists that the NBTE revoke the dubious MoU with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria regarding the HND program’s status and restore the Pharmaceutical Technology Cadre.”

“The acquisition career progression in the Lecturer cadre, while our Union is not averse to this development, the questions of a relevant PhD is now a mandatory requirement for begging for answers are: To what effect? What are the utilities of doctoral qualifications? The absence of steps to degree program in polytechnics undermines the value of PhD holders in the sector. “

“Therefore, our Union demands immediate steps to introduce he reholdites degrees in the polytechnics to utilize the additional qualifications being demanded.We wish to stress that we studied the document thoroughly and we are committed to pursuing these issues to their logical conclusions. It is crucial to highlight that we have issued a 15-day ultimatum to the Federal Government effective July 8, 2024, to suspend the implementation of this rough work called “Scheme of Service for the Polytechnics” or face diverse forms of industrial action by our Union,” the lecturers said.