Rector, Students Seek End To Certificate Dichotomy

The dichotomy between Polytechnic and University certificates has been a subject for debate in academic circles

For many years, there has been a debate over the disparity between HND certificates from the Polytechnics and BSc and other university degrees.

Why polytechnic graduates and staff claim the certificates are one and same, the other part of the divide argue that the university system is superior.

Recently, students of the polytechnics students protesting in Lagos, carried placards with the inscription "HND' Equals Or Greater Than BSc."

Also, Comrade Salahudeen Lukman, Senate President of the National Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) recently demanded a "review of all discriminatory policies of the federal government and its agencies" against polytechnics, while demanding an end to te prolonged Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics (ASUP) strike.

Rector of Hussaini Adamu Federal Polytechnic Kazaure, Dr. Kabiru Matazu, lent a voice to the call for a removal of the HND/BSc dichotomy in an interview with Abuja based newspaper Daily Trust.

"I think that dichotomy between polytechnic and university graduates should be removed. It should be removed or else you are saying that everybody must go to university and acquire a degree.  We are neglecting technical and vocational education," Matazu said.

On popular Nigerian networking site, a debate has been raging for 3 years now and comments there show that polytechnic students are desperate for a parity in certificates.

"Things are done haphazardly here in Nigeria, and that's the reason for the discrimination against technologists. If things were working or done rightly in Nigeria nobody will have a reason to discriminate against anyone, because he/she would know already the different function of each," Tosnat posted.

But there are many like nairalanderOlofintoto who believe the disparity was justified.

His said: "The reason isn't far-fetched and it starts from the admission processing level... Admission into universities is tougher thereby predisposing the polytechnics to admitting below average students. Let the admission processing into the two institutions be equally competitive and watch the discrimination fade off," Olofintoto posted in a thread.

Olofintoto's point is somewhat confirmed by the Rector.

"Remember that today the entry point for students into any polytechnic is the same five credits including Maths and English, and the student is also required to pass JAMB, but then the difference is in the cut-off mark in which that of the university is higher than that of the polytechnic," he said.

But the Dr. Matazu would not see this as enough reason for the discrimination between the certificates.

“However, a polytechnic student spends two years to acquire National Diploma (ND) and then goes for one year Industrial Training (IT) to get practical experience before he goes back for another two years to acquire Higher National Diploma (HND), which means it takes five years to acquire HND while you need only four years to acquire a degree.

"Let’s look at the curriculum; are they really a 100 percent different? They are not, so in other words we are teaching the entire students almost the same thing. I don’t think there is anything a graduate of BSc Electrical Engineering in the university studies that a graduate of ND or HND Electrical Engineering doesn’t study," he said.

What is your take on this dichotomy between polytechnic and university graduates?

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