Nigeria News
Bill to Place HND at Par with B.Sc Passes Second Reading in the Senate

With the second reading of a bill seeking to put Nigerian polytechnics at par with the universities on Wednesday, the Senate has intensified moves to address the age-long clamour to bridge the dichotomy between the two higher institutions.

Entitled “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,” the bill was sponsored by Senator Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo Central) who is also the proprietor of All Over Polytechnic in Lagos.

Leading a debate on the bill, Akinyelure who said the framework was propelled by wage disparity and gross discrimination against HND holders in the public and private sectors, noted that the situation “is threatening to derail the nation’s core policy thrust of evolving a technologically and scientifically based, self-sufficient and self-reliant society in the nearest future. Hence, the need for Senate intervention at this juncture.”

He added: “Without mincing words, and as l speak, thousands of would-be polytechnic and technology students are contemplating or have decided to opt for university education because of perceived and real discrimination against HND graduates in relation to their counterparts who are university degree holders. If this contemplation occurs, there is bound to be a vacuum created in our labour market in this regard and dire consequences are bound to follow this trend.”

Akinyelure, who claimed that polytechnic education dwells mainly on the practical while that of the university is merely theoretical, added that the degree of discrimination against HND holders in the country is so appalling to such an extent that they are employed as gatemen while their fellow university graduates are employed with dignity into ranking offices.

The senator who also claimed that HND holders in the field of accountancy, engineering, among others, had been found to be better on the field than degree holders, added that both qualifications are not supposed to compete together but should rather complement each other.

Furthermore, he said initiating this bill had become compelling in view of the fruitless promises allegedly made by the federal government to rectify the disparity between the two institutions in the past adding that the bill aims at promoting “technological advancement instead of 90 per cent of qualified candidates pursuing university education which is more theoretical without adding the needed value to the system of technological advancement of our great nation.”

But a number of senators kicked against the bill, describing it as baseless as they argued that the clamour to raise the value of polytechnic education to that of the university amount to wanting HND holders to reap where they did not to sow.

The opposing senators who described the objectives of the bill as misplaced, argued that the polytechnic education is structurally different from that of the university.

According to them, these structural differences must first of all be addressed before any clamour could be relevant.

Therefore, they argued that not only are the entry requirements into the university more complex than that of the polytechnics, it is mere university graduates that teach in the polytechnics, saying the situation is different in the university where Ph.D is the central qualification to attain ranking in lecturing.

But the opposition notwithstanding, the bill scaled second reading and referred to the committee on education for further legislation.

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