The dichotomy between university and polytechnic
graduates calls for government attention, as it appears to be
one of the reasons many students are not willing to accept
admission into Nigerian polytechnics.
Over the years, students seeking tertiary education always
wanted to attend universities. Few who are in polytechnics
or have graduated from polytechnics did so as a last resort.
Stakeholders in the sector are finding it difficult to persuade
prospective students that university and polytechnic
certificates carry the same weight; but experience shows
variance with the claims.
Because of this, there are over one million admission spaces
in the polytechnics and colleges of education, students are
not willing to accept the offers.
Why students don’t want polytechnics: Vanguard
investigations revealed some of the reasons why students
do not want the polytechnics. They include the minimum
school certificate qualifications requirement for tertiary
education. While universities require five credits, including
English and Mathematics, polytechnics are satisfied with
four credits, to include Mathematics and English. Some
polytechnics even accept a pass in English.
Polytechnic entrance exams
Again, when a student sits for the UTME, cut-off marks for
universities are always different from the polytechnics and
colleges of education. Most times, while the university cut-
off is 180, it is 150 for polytechnics. This sends wrong signals
to admission seekers.
Besides, before the introduction of UTME, students who sat
for polytechnic entrance exams wrote three papers, while
the university candidates wrote four papers. Thus, while the
polytechnic scores are rated on 300, the university is rated
on 400 marks.
Apart from this, after the prospective students have been
admitted in the polytechnic, they spend a minimum of five
years on any course to obtain HND, while the university
undergraduate spends four years, while some specialized
courses, like engineering take five years, while architecture
and medicine, take six and seven years respectively.
Moreover, in the polytechnic system, the Cumulative Grade
Point Average, CGPA, is 4.0, while that of the university is
But it is in the labour market that the disparity is quite
graphic. For instance, it is interesting to note that the HND
holder in the civil service usually does not advance beyond
salary GL 13; that means he/she cannot be a director. Even
when a polytechnic graduate wants to get a Master’s degree,
he is often denied admission until he does Post-Graduate
Diploma, after which he is qualified.
If you get to most polytechnics in Nigeria, it is the university
graduates that are employed as lecturers. The authorities
seldom employ polytechnic graduates as lecturers.
FG allocations: Our investigations revealed further that
even the Federal Government allocation to the university is
higher than the polytechnics. Government is not helping
matters, as it often ignores the agitations by polytechnics for
months, but respond repidly to universities.
The Visitor of state-owned universities and polytechnics is
the governor. But while the governor visits the university
during convocation, he seldom visits the polytechnic
throughout his tenure. The best he could do is to delegate
the Deputy Governor or Commissioner for Special Duties to
stand in. All these add to why many admission seekers
prefer to remain at home until they get admission in the
university. They see the polytechnic as the last resort when
all attempts fail. We should not be quick to blame our
students, the bulk of the blame should go to our
government and policymakers.
Minister of Education could sponsor a bill in this regard to
the National Assembly for amendment and the anomaly will
stop. Until everyone begins to see polytechnic graduates and
university graduates as the same, we will continue to have
admission spill-over every year.
Poly students, graduates react
Some polytechnic students and graduates bared their minds:
Bidemi Kalejaiye said: “After I had tried to get admission
into the university for four years without success, I decided
to go to the polytechnic. I, however discovered that a
university graduate is not better than a polytechnic
Joshua Yinusa said: “I always desired university education.
But after I tried to get admission into the university for two
years without success, I accepted polytechnic admission
since all my friends whom we did WASSCE together were
either in the university or polytechnic. After my NYSC, I will
still enrol for a degree course in the university because of
the disparities between the polytechnic and university
Onome Ogheneovo said: “Since I couldn’t get what I desired,
I decided to like what I have. I tried to get into the university
for five years without success. But within a year, I tried the
polytechnic, I got it. The requirements were easy to meet.”
Battle between BSC and HND and why BSC will always be Ahead of HND
The dichotomy between university and polytechnic