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ASUP demands suspension of new scheme of service, issues 15-day ultimatum

* ASUP says scheme undermines autonomy and standards of polytechnics
* ASUP contests inclusion of mandatory National Skills Qualifications (NSQ) as prerequisite for academic staff career advancement
Sunday Jul 07, 2024 21:18 pm



By NEWS EDITOR
Abuja,   News


The Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) has called for the immediate suspension of the new scheme of service released for polytechnics within the next 15 days.

Addressing newsmen at the weekend in Abuja after the union’s National Executive Council (NEC), ASUP’s National President, Mr Shammah Kpanja said the ultimatum would start counting from Monday, July 8, 2024. He, therefore, advised government to review and effect the necessary amendments or risk attracting further actions from the union.

Kpanja who questioned the authority of the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHSCoF) on saff employment in polytechnics, asserted that the decision contradicts the processes of the institution.

ASUP President stated that some sections of the document were undermining the autonomy and standards of polytechnics in the country and explained that the document was amongst other things, promoting setbacks to efforts that have been made to address the discriminatory practices and gap between university degree holders and Higher National Diploma (HND) holders in the country.


A contentious issue has also been the mandatory inclusion of National Skills Qualifications (NSQ) as a prerequisite for academic staff career advancement, which was rejected by the union and labelled as irrelevant to the delivery of polytechnic curricula.

Shammah Kpanja said: “Our conviction is that the OHCSoF cannot be preparing or approving a document on career development of staff when she is neither an employer nor regulator.

“Several provisions in the controversial document eroded gains made in our Union’s battle against this condemnable act,” Kpanja said, expressing deep concern over the impact on career progression and administrative appointments within polytechnics.

“The contentious document curiously, unjustifiably and unacceptably elongates the career progression steps of the Lecturer cadre from a 7 step to a 9 step career development cadre and at the same time added an extra year for promotion to the final two levels.

“This implies that anyone on the lecturer cadre will now endure a minimum of 26 tortuous years from the base to the highest level.

“This is not acceptable particularly in view of the fact that this deviates from the norm in other subsectors and that the retirement age in the sector remains unchanged.

“The unfair career progression guide in the sector particularly as it affects the teaching and non-teaching staff cadres is a recipe for crises as such is not reflective of the remuneration accruing to the cadres.

“The document was manifest with a proliferation of directorates with unsustainable financial implications on the overhead of the institutions. Equally, we view it as an act of duplicity for the NBTE to enter into a questionable Memorandum of

“Understanding with the Pharmacists Council of Nigeria on the issue of the status of the HND program in Pharmaceutical Technology run by Polytechnics, while at the same time creating a cadre which requires manpower of the same qualification. This contradiction is unfortunate

“The release of documents by the NBTE subtly amending some provisions and seeking approval for amendment of others amounts to an admission of guilt and a halfhearted attempt at lifting the mourning mood in the sector imposed by the release of the contentious scheme of service.

“This is unsatisfactory and self-indicating on the commitment of the NBTE to the ideals and aspirations of the Nigeria Polytechnic System.

“In view of the fact that several provisions in the document fell short of the expected standards as earlier observed, our Union is hereby issuing a 15 day ultimatum to proprietors of all public polytechnics for the owners of the document, the NBTE to suspend implementation of the identified provisions until the requisite amendments are effected. The ultimatum is with effect from 8th of July 2024.

“At the expiration of the 15-day ultimatum, the Union’s NEC will reconvene to decide a specific and legitimate course of action to address the issue.

“Zones and Chapters of the Union are to prepare members for necessary action within the 15 days ultimatum through Congresses, peaceful protests, and media campaigns on the issue.”

Recall that the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation developed a new scheme which was transmitted to polytechnics by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). 

 

 

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