HND and BSC Dichotomy: Latest Developments You Must Know -

HND and BSC Dichotomy: Latest Developments You Must Know

If you’ve been following me for some time, you must have mistaken me for an advocate of equality between BSC and HND. Well, you can be right about me. In fact, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

If you must know, Nigeria is only lost in her old ways of doing things. Nothing is practically right with a BSC holder that is wrong with his HND counterpart.

That’s not the point of this piece anyway. I write to update you on the latest trends regards the abolishing of the HND/BSC dichotomy as recently said/passed by the Federal government. There have been some misunderstandings which I choose to bring to your attention too - having got the same from the Head of Civil Service of Federation (HOCSF), Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.

The Backgrounds

Generally, all Higher National Diploma holders are aware that the salary scale for the BSC and HND is nowhere near each other. Positions and promotions are suffering the same fate.

According to this salary structure, the entry-level salary for a fresh BSc graduate in a federal university is around N100,000 ($250) per month, while that of an HND holder in a federal polytechnic is around N70,000 ($175) per month. 

This issue is not only experienced in the private sector, where it could be forgiven, but also in the Federal, State, and Local government establishments.

In her effort to bridge this gap, the Federal government has recently taken some steps among which include the Discontinuity of the HND program in the Federal Polytechnics and affiliation of Polytechnics with established universities for Direct Entry admissions. And recently, Kano Govt. Abolishes HND, BSC Dichotomy to mark the State Workers' Day.

Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita, in a circular dated March 26, 2018, conveyed the decision of the National Council on Establishment to all concerned and solicited their support through its implementation.

Then, news including The Suns, TribuneOnline, etc. had it that, the Federal Government has successfully abolished the dichotomy finally.

However, a new update has it that the Federal Government has not abolished this dichotomy in its entirety.

The Dichotomy Between BSC and HND is Still Alive

Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita threw another bomb when she said the abolishing of the HND/BSC dichotomy only affects the entry point into the federal civil service.

This may conform with the information earlier stated. The council approved the entry point of GL 08 for Higher National Diploma (HND) holders in the civil service. It also encouraged serving HND officers to fulfill all specified conditions as they contained in the scheme of service and extant rules for career progression beyond SGL 14.

This means that even though an HND graduate could be employed at the same entry-level as a BSC counterpart, he might not be able to progress beyond level 14 with only the Higher National Diploma.

So, what do we believe now?

Nigeria can be a confusing country sometimes. Everything is working against the public. You don’t know what and who to believe. The news says something and the authority in charge says another. Lots of misunderstandings in short!

Meanwhile, ignorance or misunderstanding of the law is no excuse. We need to take a stand and the stand we take should be that of the authority in charge.

What to Deduce from the Latest Development

  1. HND graduates were formerly employed with Grade Level 7; GL07. With this new law, henceforth, HND graduates MAY BE EMPLOYED at the same GL08 as degree holders. Hence, they may be on the same level at the entry point in the civil service. 
  2. A 2022 development has proved this position wrong again after a new letter Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) has reemphasized that GL07 remained as the approved entry level for HND holders.
  3. HND graduates in the federal service will progress to Grade Level 14 at maximum. Hence, whoever wishes to progress beyond GL14 must have met the specific conditions during his working time. These conditions will be detailed in the next section. Read on!
  4. HND graduates will not get up to Grade Level 17 in Public service unless those conditions are met along the way. Hence, the holders still have to convert after having acquired relevant degrees, to the officer Cadre.

What Are the Conditions HND Holders Must Meet Before Progressing Beyond GL14?

The head of the service was not detailed as to conditions to be met on or before grade level 14 if HND holders will compete with their BSC counterparts at the levels beyond. This must have been detailed in the scheme of employment of the federal civil service.

However, it is obvious that they want you to acquire a degree or equivalent academic certificate before your time is due for promotion beyond GL14. On this note, checking the content of the recent letter, we can see the list of additional qualifications, certificates, and/or professional certificates required for an HND holder to be qualified for promotion beyond level 14.

The letter, signed by Ben Omogo, the Director of Organization Design and Development at the Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, added, 
Accordingly, holders of Higher National Diplomas (HND) in Accounting and Professional Certificate of Association of National Accountancy of Nigeria (ANAN) without a Postgraduate Diploma (PGD) plus a Master's Degree or a degree in Accounting from a recognized university cannot be promoted into the Directorate level in the Public Service as stipulated in the extant Schemes of Service.

The letter referred to a circular dated 12th April 2021 with reference; to HCSF/SPSO/ODD/NCE/CND.100/s.10/III/104, which clarifies “that professional certificates from bodies such as the Association of National Accountants of Nigeria (ANAN) or Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) are no longer acceptable as a qualification to climb the civil service cadres.”

However, the professional certificates are a requirement for HND holders in SGL 13 who are willing to move to SGL 14, it said.

“Professional certificates already in the Schemes of Service shall in the interim, serve as requirements for promotion from SGL.13 to SGL. 14. This implies that a candidate on the officers’ Cadres e.g. (Accountants & Engineers) cannot progress to SGL.14 without the relevant Professional Certificate (ANAN, ICAN, or COREN) as appropriate,” it added.

What is the Position of the State, Local, and Private Sectors in the Development?

Even though the federal government is taking its own steps to bring things to the same level and has passed all bridges to this point, will state, local and private establishments do the same?

Obviously no!

The federal government has not mandated it for other sectors or organizations to comply, at least not yet. Hence, we may need to wait some years before they may be embracing this new policy.


There is no doubt about it that some forces including part of the Federal Executives, National Assemblies, etc. are hindering the movement to equate HND with BSC in all ramifications. This is why it takes a century to get here.

If more pressure is continually mounted on these offices in the future, this is not far from being achieved.

In the meantime, all the concerns should understand their stands and act accordingly.

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  1. Is the 2021/2022 federal service scheme out or what stage is it. Thanks

  2. Is it possible forHND + ICAN to go beyond level 14 in federal civil service ?

    1. I think YES since you'd acquired an additional certification, especially a master's or professional. You may also be interested in the post below.

  3. Will there be delay in my career progression. Have my BSC now. Want to do conversion. Am on level 14, with HND. Hope I will not been taken to lwv 13.

  4. Is it possible for someone on clerical cadre grade level 07 progress to level 10 with lCAN certificate


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