The Honorable Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu yesterday confirmed the abolition of the dichotomy that hitherto existed between the Higher National Diploma (HND) and University degree otherwise known as B.Sc. The Minister who announced the official position of the government in Abuja yesterday said the stories that has been on social media has element of mischief.
“The dichotomy between Bsc and HND has been eliminated,” he said. Daily Sun gathered that the National Council on Establishments (NCE) has also given approval for the abolition of the dichotomy. The Minister, last month announced that the government had concluded plans to abolish the dichotomy that hitherto existed between these two educational qualifications, but a reliable source in the Ministry said the policy announcement was put on hold pending the decision of the National Council on Establishments and the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“This is serious education policy that has effect on millions of Nigerian students. So, the Minister is very careful not to make mistake that would further compound the issue. To this end, he (the Minister) decided to wait for the input of all stakeholders,” the source said. However, some scholars have expressed mixed reaction to the plan of the government to abolish the dichotomy.
A lecturer from the University of Abuja who pleaded said instead of abolition, a short post-graduate program should be developed for polytechnic graduates to brush them up and bring them up to the level of the University graduates. “Why would you want to abolish the dichotomy and put both qualifications side by side when the entry requirements for university is higher than that of polytechnics.
For instance, there are specific number of Professors and P.hD holders required in a particular faculty in a university, unlike in the polytechnics, where, in some cases, you discover that it is university graduates that are teaching the students,” he said.
The president of the Academic Staff of Nigerian Universities (ASUU), Professor Biodun Ogunyemi also opposed the abolish the dichotomy. “The tenacity of these two qualifications is tested at the work place. People have been saying that there is no disparity between HND and Degree certificate but I don’t see how both graduates can match each other especially at the level of work place.
Dr. Femi Olufumilade, Head of Political Science Department, Igbinedion University, Okada said the decision ought to have taken place long ago. “Nevertheless, it is a good development in our education system because the disparity has created a huge psychological gap between the graduates of Polythecnics and University,” he said. Prof. Ifeoma Nwoye of the Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida (IBB) University, Lapai, Niger State also endorsed government. She argued that polythecnic education system failed woefully in achieving its objective of raising skilled technical manpower.
“Even the Britain where we copied the polythecnic education system from has abolished and now run a single university system. So, there is nothing bad about the decision,” she said. She, however, called for a total overhaul of the tertiary education curriculum. A lecturer in the Department of Sociology, Dr. Peter Ogah said , “ It has little or no negative implication. We welcome it even though I graduated from University. Let us support it” he said.
She accused the of double standard for giving due recognition to HND holders, saying that the discrimination is obvious in government employment, where HND holders are placed below degree Degree holders. A Professor of Education in Ebonyi State University, Sunday Agwu asked the government, in implementing such decision to consider admission requirements, qualifications for lectuerers as well as curricular.