End BSc/HND dichotomy now

The adage that,you can rub Peter to pay Paul is actually going on in Nigeria,with the disparity between graduates of higher national diploma (HND) and bachelor of science.

Going by this trend in the country that has placed BSc degree holders above HND holders in terms of employment opportunities and promotion, higher national diploma holders cannot go beyond grade level 13, while  BSc degree holders can raise up to grade level 17 before retirement from active service.

In terms of academic discipline, both the holders of the two certificates spent the same years in school. But in the practical aspect,higher national diploma holders are ahead of the bachelor of science degree holders. This is so because in 70 percent of learning in polytechnics is practical being technological based institutions aimed at equipping students with a technologically based knowledge that helps graduates to be self-reliant even after graduating from school.

In developed nations, higher national diploma and bachelor of science degree holders are employed on the same grade level. Holders of higher national diploma work in companies and industries as technicians, manufacturers and instructors, while bachelor of science degree holders work as managers, but are on the same level, and even in some cases higher national diploma holders earn more than bachelor of science degree holders.

But not in Nigeria, where there are lots of disparities between them, as the holders of bachelor of science degree are favoured over higher national diploma holders.

In a move towards ending these disparities, the National Assembly, both the House of Representatives and Senate, passed a bill to end the dichotomy between the two certificates. The bill which was sponsored by Senator Ayo  Akinyelure, (PDP, Ondo central) to resolve the controversy also seeks to promote Nigeria’s technological advancement by encouraging many qualified students to pursue polytechnics and technology based studies.

However, on June 2, 2021, the Senate passed the bill to abolish HND/BSC dichotomy. The bill stipulates punitive measures against any form of disparities and discrimination against holders of HND, this means the two certificates are now at equal. With the passage of the bill by the National Assembly, what is now left is the president’s assent which will ensure the growth of polytechnic education in the country.

I had a chat with a university lecturer and he said HND students are more committed in terms of quality than BSc degree holders. Some advanced countries don’t care about the certificate you have; all they are after is what you can offer as a graduate. Jailani Aliyu, a Nigerian polytechnic graduate and an automobile designer at General Motors in America, said “ I’ve been working in America for over a decade but nobody ever asked me for my certificate, all they care is what I can offer.” 

I’ve seen some organisations that think the dichotomy between HND and BSc holders is not worth it because many of them prefer people with HND to  BSc holders just because of the experience gained through practicals in polytechnics. 

I wonder why Nigerian government can’t reform its education system to give people a chance to explore their potential in a particular aspects of study be it BSc or HND let it be equal in terms of everything because to some extent people with HND are more brilliant when it comes to practicals than BSc holders.

Therefore, Nigerian students are calling on our dear President Muhammadu Buhari and other relevant authorities to as as a matter of urgency take the bull by the horns by signing into law the bill to end the dichotomy between higher national diploma holders and bachelor of science holders .
Dangana Henry Joseph and Muhammad Umar Shehu, Department of Mass Communication,Abubakar Tatari Ali Polytechnic Bauchi, Bauchi state. [email protected].
[email protected] 08035794769