The Bill for an Act to Abolish and Prohibit Dichotomy and
Discrimination between First Degrees and Higher National Diploma in the
same Profession/Field and related matters on Wednesday scaled second
reading in the Senate.
The bill, which scaled second reading after
heated debate at plenary on its relevance, seeks to resolve controversy
over wage disparity and gross discrimination against HND holder in
public and private sectors of the economy.
The Senate President,
David Mark in his remarks, said it would be difficult to legislate on
the bill, given that polytechnics were not originally established to be
degree awarding institutions.
He said rather than canvass for abolishion of the dichotomy, polytechnics should be changed to degree awarding institutions.
problem here is whether we can legislate on this. I think obviously
that is not going to work for several reasons that we have all advanced
“We can’t legislate here and say you must employ an HND instead of employing somebody with B.SC.
think it is more of attitude than what we can legislate on but we can
get an arrangement where the polytechnics begin to award degrees, in
which case the polytechnics will no more be polytechnics; they will be
universities,’’ he said.
Mark, who did not outrightly condemn the
bill, said it should be sent for public hearing, to get the views of
relevant stakeholders on the way forward on the issue of dichotomy.
however, said that “our attempt really to equate HND to a degree is not
likely to work. Nobody who has done a degree has gone back to the
polytechnic to do HND and you can’t blame that logic.
essence of allowing the bill to go through second reading and public
reading is for us to get more ideas about how to get the way forward.
“That will be the only benefit that will come out it,” he said.
lead debate, presented by Sen. Patrick Akinyelure (PDP-Ondo),
highlighted the need to abolish the discrimination between HND and First
Akinyelure said the continuing discrimination against HND
holders was threatening to ruin the nation’s core policy thrust of
evolving a technological and scientifically based society.
that findings had proved that some polytechnic graduates were in some
cases better on the field than their university counterparts.
all intents and purposes, a government employment policy that places
degree holders ahead of HND holders without recourse to skill and
ability of the HND holder thereof does more harm than good to the
nation’s development plans.
“Therefore, the aim of the bill is to
promote the technological advancement of our great nation by encouraging
many qualified candidates to pursue polytechnic and technological
advancement,” he said.
Some lawmakers, however, argued that rather
than seeking to abolish the dichotomy, efforts should be made to
transform all polytechnics to degree awarding institutions.
Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, said even if the bill did
not succeed, it would help to raise awareness on the dysfunctional
nature of the country’s educational system.
He decried the growing
trend where polytechnics offered courses outside their field, adding
that in order to correct the abnormally, all polytechnics should be
converted to degree awarding institutions.
“All we need now is to
expand the knowledge base of our polytechnics, increase entry
qualification and employ qualified teachers for the polytechnics.
should then make conscious effort to set up technical schools that
would award only diploma to support our industries and help the system
“To say we will abolish the dichotomy is difficult.
The committee to handle the bill should invite experts to look into
harmonising the institutions,” he said.
On his part, Sen. ITA Enang (PDP-Akwa Ibom) decried the poor standard of some polytechnics in the country.
called on the regulatory body in charge of polytechnics to adequately
regulate the establishment of the institution in the country.
have seen polytechnics operate in two bedroom flats and this is the
situation that brings suspicion about the quality of our polytechnics.
“I have also seen standard polytechnics and the quality of their product compete favourably with universities”.
He called on relevant agencies to improve on the carrying capacity of universities to accommodate all those seeking admissions.
also called for harmonisation of universities and polytechnics to help
manage a situation where people went to polytechnics because they could
not secure admission into universities.
“This bill should pass a second reading to find solution to the problem. I support this bill,” he said.
Sen. Chris Ngige (APC-Anambra) said in as much as he sympathised with HND holders, the bill should be dropped.
He said that relevant agencies should rather harmonise the institutions and make polytechnics degree awarding institutions.
bill evokes emotion but laws should not be made based on that to avoid
mistakes. This has to do with fundamental structure of the education
“Let us conserve the resources of the senate; it will not go through second reading,” he said.
Abubakar Bagudu ( PDP-Kebbi), a member of Senate Committee Education,
said if the dichotomy should be abolished, there would be
standardisation of policy.
He argued that standardisation of policy was vital because universities and polytechnics had different structures.
university is theory and research oriented as compared to polytechnic
which is supposed to turn out industrial ready graduates,” he said.
Prof. Olusola Adeyeye (APC-Osun), the Vice Chairman of Senate Committee
on Education, canvassed for the harmonisation of the institutions to
enable polytechnics to award degrees.
“I believe that for as long
as there is difference in admission standard and training for both
institutions of learning, there will be difference in employment.
us go the US way and equalise both polytechnics and universities and
have specialised institutions to handle the technical aspect”.
lawmaker explained that Nigeria inherited the polytechnic system from
the colonial masters, who thought of having a middle level manpower
where people could be trained without the lengthy period in university.
further explained that UK subsequently abolished the system after
meeting the purpose for which it was established to meet its industrial
“We need to make the admission standard the same for
polytechnics and universities; forget the dichotomy issue. It is a lie
to say you need HND to run an industrial state,” he said.