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Senate passes bill to end discrimination between first degree, HND holders

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The Senate has 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 followed the consideration of a report by the Joint Committee on Establishment and Public Service Matters; and Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND.

Chairman of the Joint Committee, Ibrahim Shekarau (APC, Kano Central), 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.”

He added that 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 enhanced corporate governance, as well encourage patriotic contributions amongst HND employees in both public and private sectors.

The Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in his remarks after the bill was passed, 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.”

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Education

Pay Salary Backlog Or Forget Unfinished Academic Sessions, ASUU Tells FG

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The Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) has insisted on the payment of the salary backlog to lecturers, maintaining that without the move, unfinished academic sessions should be forgotten.

President of the union Professor Emmanuel Osodeke made the remark on Friday, explaining that though public varsities have been shut since February, the lecturers should be paid since they have to teach to make up for time lost during the closure.

Osodeke was speaking during an interview on Channels Television’s breakfast show, Sunrise Daily following the government’s insistence on non-payment of the lecturers over the industrial action.

“Let me tell you the difference between ASUU and other labour unions. When other unions go on strike and come back, all those periods for which you are on strike, you don’t need to do the backlog of work,” the ASUU chief explained.

“But for ASUU, when we go back today, we are going to start from the 2020/2021 session. For these two sets of students that have been admitted by JAMB, we have to teach them over these periods to ensure that we meet up with the system.

“So, we are going to do the backlog of the work we have left behind. We are not going to start today and say ‘This session is 2022/2023, therefore, all these two sets of people that have been admitted by JAMB are cancelled. We have to take another admission for the 2023/2024 session’.”

According to him, if the government maintains its stance on the non-payment of salary backlog, members of the union are not obliged to make up for the lost academic time.

“If we agree on that, therefore, the lectures we should have given [to students] for 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 [sessions], they should be allowed to go so we start a new session 2022/2023 within September which is when a new session should start,” Professor Osodeke added.

“Therefore by July next year, I would go on my leave as we used to have in those days so that the backlog is gone. All the lectures that remain; all the two sets of admissions that JAMB has given that are waiting should become irrelevant.”

He said that ASUU does not need a pity party over the government’s withholding of the lecturers’ wages,  maintaining that the union “can take care” of its members.

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Kebbi settles N456m WAEC fees – Commissioner

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The Kebbi State Government has approved the payment of remaining balance of more than N456 million to West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for the 2022 West African School Certificate Examination (WASC).

Dr Muhammadu Magawata-Aliero, Commissioner for Basic and Secondary Education in the state, disclosed this while addressing newsmen in Birnin Kebbi, the state capital on Monday.

He said: “The Kebbi State Government has approved the payment of N456,596,000 to West African Examinations Council (WAEC) for the 2022 West African School Certificate Examination (WASC).

“This is in addition to N100 million paid to WAEC in April 2022, being deposit, thus, bringing the total payment to N556.5 million.”

The Commissioner recalled that the state government sponsored 30,922 candidates for the 2022 WASC at a registration fee of N18,000 per candidate.

Magawata-Aliero added that government had also approved N2.6 million cost of materials and extra supervision.

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FG Can’t Borrow N1.1trn To End ASUU Strike – Festus Keyamo

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Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo
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The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo, has said it was unrealistic for the Federal Government to borrow money to end the months-long strike embarked by the Academic Staff Union of Universities.

He made the comment while speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday.

“Should we go and borrow to pay N1.2 trillion yearly?

“You cannot allow one sector of the economy to hold you by the jugular and then blackmail you to go and borrow N1.2 trillion for overheads when our total income would be about N6.1 trillion. And you have roads to build, health centres to build, other sectors to take care of.”

The Minister urged parents across the country to beg ASUU.

“Like the President said the other time, those who know them, appeal to their sense of patriotism,” he said.

“Let them go back to classes. They are not the only one in Nigeria.

They are not the only ones feeding from the federal purse. The nation cannot grind to a halt because we want to take care of the demands of ASUU.”

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