Are Polytechnic graduates inferior to University graduates?
The fact that there is discrimination between Polytechnic graduates and University graduates is now becoming more real than ever. Imagine someone who went to a polytechnic for his Higher National Diploma (HND) program. He would spend the first 2 years to get Ordinary National Diploma (OND). He would then proceed on a mandatory one year Industrial Attachment before enrolling for another 2 years for the Higher National Diploma program. In all, the person will end up spending about 5 years if not even more in Polytechnic and the only compensation he would get from the society is rejection from potential employers.
The funniest thing is that some employers who themselves went to Polytechnics has not only refused to employ Polytechnic graduates but they have successfully made those set of Nigerians to feel inferior. There was a situation recently where a former bank MD – a Polytechnic graduate himself – refused to employ Polytechnic graduates. Was he feeling ashamed that he went to Polytechnic? Maybe he is not proud that he graduated from a polytechnic (He definitely must have wished he went to a university :-()? I really don’t understand the reason behind his action. The impact of this on these polytechnic graduates has been enormous. For instance, my elder sister had to go back to school for a degree and that was even after she had been working for 2 years. It suddenly dawned on her that she would not rise beyond a certain level if she fails to pick up a degree certificate. So, she is back to school. Thank God, she would graduate from one of the state universities this year ;).
I can even say that she was lucky to have picked up a good employment in the first instance. Most of her mates only managed to secure job placements whose renumeration are nothing to write home about. At the same time, their employers would want them to work like Jackal. Should we then say that Nigerian youths should desist from going to Polytechnic since they are likely to be treated as inferior candidates in the labour market? Maybe YES. As for me, I would definitely not allow any of my people to go to Polytechnic until this issue of discrimination is sorted out. What is the use of spending so much money to earn HND whose value the society doesn’t appreciate?
Most of the so-called Polytechnic graduates are even better when it comes to handling responsibilities at work. They are more skilled. The polytechnic education is thorough and involves a lot of practicals unlike the universities where a computer student can graduate without even touching a computer. I just hope all stakeholders would put all hands on desk soon to address this issue. The implication is that many Nigerian companies would furthermore be denied access to the skills and expertise of these graduates. And this translates to loosing a billion of dollars yearly. Nigeria’s economy is surely loosing from this act and only God knows for how long this loss would be.
Anyway, I see hope. I believe something would be done pretty soon. President Olusegun Obasanjo has just pledged to remove the dichotomy between graduates of universities and polytechnics in the labour market, especially in the public sector. The present Federal Government policy restricts holders of the Higher National Diploma (HND) from rising above level 14 in the civil service. Obasanjo thus seeks to end the discrimination of HND holders because he was convinced that they could also be more useful to the nation without the level 14 restriction placed on them.
The president believes that so many HND holders have contributed or are contributing very meaningfully to the development of Nigeria but the discrimination that is put on them that if you reach level 14, you cannot go any further than that, places some kind of disadvantage not only to the holders but on the country as well. These people ordinarily should have much more contributed to our development and we feel that the Federal Government should review this policy and the president accepted, the president said.
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