Higher National Diploma
A Higher National Diploma (HND) is a higher education qualification of the United Kingdom. A qualification of the same title is also offered in Argentina, Finland (but it is not an official Finnish higher education degree), India, Malta, Nigeria, Ghana and some other countries with British ties. This qualification can be used to gain entry into universities at an advanced level; it is considered equivalent to a foundation degree or the first two years of a bachelor degree.
In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, the HND is a qualification awarded by many awarding bodies, such as the Confederation of Tourism and Hospitality (CTH Advanced diploma), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and BTEC (Vocational programs). In Scotland, a Higher National is awarded by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). The attainment level is roughly equivalent to second year of a 4 year Scottish degree or 1st year of a 3 year English degree, Ref Edinburgh College university, a Diploma of Higher Education, Diploma;'s of Higher Education are a different qualification from HNC and HND. They are a 1 year Post Grad University degree. An HND takes two years of full-time study, or one year full-time following successful completion of a Higher National Certificate; part-time study takes longer.
In Ghana, HND is offered in Polytechnics with Programmes of Secretaryship and Management Studies also equivalents to associate degree in Business Administration, Accounting, marketing, etc.
In Nigeria, HND is a continuation of a National Diploma (ND-[equivalent to Associate Degree]) programme, both offered by polytechnics. The ND and HND programmes have a duration of two years each with one-year break after the ND programme for an Industrial Training (IT) attachment in relevant industries. At the completion of an HND programme, the graduate would have spent 4 to 5 years; hence, Higher National Diplomas are sometimes referred to "equivalent" of a first degree. Although, there have existed a long-standing disagreement over the "equivalence" of HND to university first degree; employers of labour (including the government and its policies) have discriminated against HND holders—grading them below their university counterparts and preventing them from attaining managerial or directorate cadres. However, following series of efforts by polytechnic students/lecturers and concerned entities, the federal government has made attempts to remove the dichotomy between HND and degree holders in places of employment, and the efforts are paying off as some of the government organisations (especially paramilitary) have started upgrading and employing the HND-holders at par with their First Degree counterparts. Some have even claimed that the HND graduates are better than their universities counterparts in the same fields.
In Scotland an HND is Level 8 on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and in England, Wales and Northern Ireland it is Level 5 on the Regulated Qualifications Framework/Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales. It is quite common for those who have achieved an HND to add to their qualification by progressing to other levels such as professional qualifications, or a degree.
On graduation, students are permitted to use the postnominals HND or HNDip after their name, usually followed by the course name in brackets.
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