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Author Topic: Polytechnic Students, Staff Plead With Buhari To End HND, B.Sc Disparity  (Read 617 times)

Offline Mr. Babatunde

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Polytechnic Students, Staff Beg Buhari To End HND,
B.Sc Disparity. Relief came to students in polytechnic
on Wednesday, July 29, 2015, when the Registrar of
Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB),
Prof. Dibu Ojerinde, said President Muhammadu
Buhari, was willing to implement the waiver that
would end the B.Sc and HND dichotomy. According
to the JAMB boss, President Buhari while receiving
the updated report on the B.Sc and HND saga which
was presented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal
Ministry of Education, MacJohn Nwaobiala in which
he (Ojerinde) was part of the delegation, showed that
the president demonstrated willingness to end the
imbroglio.

Academic staffs, students and graduates of
polytechnics welcomed the news with joy. But
beneath the façade of their celebration lay the
nagging fear whether the present government would
be bold enough to address this prolonged issue? Will
it not be another political promise as usual?

Their fears were hinged on the fact that in 2005, the
former president, Olusegun Obasanjo announced a
new policy to end the dichotomy that has pitched
HND graduates against their more favoured
graduates from the universities and made the HND
certificate holders victims of discrimination in
promotion and job prospects. But 10 years after,
nothing has been done. HND holders are still being
discriminated against in the labour market.

Few years ago, the Academic Staff of Union of
Polytechnic (ASUP) embarked on an industrial action
that lasted for 11 months. The union among other
things demanded an end to the disparity between
HND and B.Sc certificates in the country. The federal
government on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 inaugurated a
12-man technical committee to review the issue,
which has hindered career progression of HND
holders in the core civil service system.

Speaking during the inauguration, the former
Supervising Minister of Education now River State
Governor, Nyesom Wike, stated that part of the
committee’s terms of reference would be to review
the curriculum of the HND programme, to establish a
course that would pave the way for recognition of
HND to reach the highest-grade level in public service
and to design a programme to enable polytechnics
award B-Tech degree, which is equivalent to that of
universities.

A Bill for an Act to Abolish and Prohibit Dichotomy
and Discrimination Between First Degrees and the
Higher National Diploma in the Same Profession/
Field and Related Matters,” on 22nd, October 2014
passed the second reading. The bill, which was
sponsored by the former Senator representing Ondo
Central, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, is still waiting in the
chambers.

Speaking to Campus Sun on the need for the Buhari-
led administration to address this prolonged
controversy, the National Internal Auditor of
Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Mr Joel
Fagbohun, said the union had severally criticized the
idea of setting different cut-off marks for the two
sectors by JAMB. He said: “The JAMB cut-off mark for
admission into universities is still 180 while that of
polytechnics is 150. Does that really demonstrate the
willingness of the Federal Government and JAMB to
end the dichotomy?”

Speaking further, Fagbohun said there is still a long
way to go in ending the disparity, noting that people’s
mindset in seeing university degree as superior to
HND remained unchanged.

Also, Mr Tunji Owoeye, the ASUP Chairman, Federal
Polytechnic, Ado- Ekiti, urged the present
administration to match its words with action and
end the discrepancy between HND and B.Sc
certificates.

He said: “It is unfortunate that past administrations
lack the political will to implement various committee
reports on this. Students are disillusioned even
before they get into the polytechnics, hence the few
number of students that desire it as first choice.
Nigeria’s technological growth depends on the level
of investment in the polytechnic sector.”

Owoeye appealled to President Muhammed Buhari
to allow the polytechnic system to develop along its
policies. He also urged the Federal Government to
allow polytechnics award higher degrees up to PhD
level in their fields to check the brain-drain of
academic staff to the varsities.

Aminat Adesanya, a Computer Science student, Yaba
College of Technology, said ending the disparity
between the two certificates would be a great
achievement by the present leadership.

“In YABATECH, we have a lot of facilities and well-
equipped laboratories which most universities in the
country don’t have. Also, in terms of practical,
polytechnic students are the best. So, Buhari should
kindly stop this discrimination”, she said.

For Adetoun Ajagunna, an ND 1 Mass
Communication student, Rufus Giwa Polytechnic,
Owo, Ondo State, graduates from polytechnics are
better skilled than those from universities.

“We gain both the theoretical aspects and practical
experience. What a 300 level student of Mass
Communication in a university does is what our ND 2
 students are doing here. So, segregating us in the
labour market is very bad,” he said.

Adetoun appealed to the President to stop the
disparity, and not push it to the sideline as was done
by previous administrations.

For Olayemi Gbolagade, ND 2 Quantity Surveying
student, Federal Polytechnic, Ado-Ekiti, effecting the
change would reduce the pressure on universities by
admission seekers. According to him, applicants
would choose polytechnics as their first choice,
instead of running to the universities with limited
carrying capacity.

Oluwatobi Nurudeen Ogunnusi, a graduate of
Statistics from the Federal Polytechnic, Ilaro said
ending the disparity would also enhance
technological growth in Nigeria, as more students
would go for skill-oriented courses offered in
polytechnics.

“Rating of HND degree as third class must stop.
Moreover, the federal government should review the
Polytechnic Act and build another institution for
middle level manpower,” he said.

Also speaking, Abidemi Rasaq from the Federal
Polytechnic, Ilaro, Ogun State, said ending the
disparity would raise the esteem of polytechnic
education in the country. He urged Buhari to
implement his change mantra in the polytechnic
sector.

“If B.Tech is awarded to polytechnic graduates, what
happens to institution like FUTA, FUTO who are
already issuing same? Will there be a change of
name? To me, the problem is not about the federal
government bridging the gap but the problem lies on
the employer of labour, who will still look at the
name of institution that doled out the certificate. That
attitude will make the discrimination to continue”, he
continued.

In his reaction, the Senate President, National
Association of Polytechnic Students (NAPS) and a
student of the Federal Polytechnic, Offa, Salahudeen
Lukman, urged the federal government to stop the
disparity without further delay.

He said: “When some companies advertise vacancies
with the condition of Bsc/BTECH only, are they trying
to tell us, polytechnic students that graduate from
universities are better. They make polytechnic
graduates spend more years in postgraduate
programme, insisting on PGD before one can do his
Masters. Personally, I will be glad if HND can be
converted to B.TECH. We have had enough of this
discrimination”.


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