The age long bsc/hnd dichotomy 2

By Christian Chinedu

Nyesom wike promised a change and appealed for understanding. Leading the debate during the 2nd reading of "A bill for an act to abolish and prohibit dichotomy and discrimination between first degree and higher national diploma holders in the same profession//field and related matters", which he sponsored at the senate, senator Ayo Akinyelu, lamented the disparity in wages and gross discrimination against polytechnic graduates. Senator Nwabueze Ngige considered the bill a waist of time and resources, even though he sympathized with hnd holders. It's a shame how the sponsors and supporters of such an important bill had to labourer to see it through second reading. This writer is taken aback by the comment of the senate president, senator David Mark, who said that no university graduate proceeds to the polytechnic to acquire a certificate as only the reverse is always the case. Unfortunately, this is not true. He also gave an indication of the conclusion of the house leadership on the bill when he implied the bill will achieve nothing close to what it seeks to achieve. This writer friend is a staff of a foreign oil company in Nigeria, and a graduate of sociology from the delta state university. After several years of unemployment, he got a hard offer for employment at the oil company, with his primary school result, and to train as a technician. Today, he has abandoned his degree and is pursuing a diploma in electrical engineering at the polytechnic. That is what is not only best for but also safe for him. In just six years of employment he is married with about four buildings and has become breadwinner of his larger family too.

The university is the highest citadel of Education and scholars proceed only there in Nigeria for higher degrees, because of the discrimination against and neglect of our polytechnics. It is to my knowledge that in 1992, Britain from whom we copied our system abolished the polytechnic system making all polytechnics become universities and degree awarding. We can do likewise in Nigeria. In the United states there are polytechnic universities. There are several institutions that do not have the word university in their names eg, MiT, one of the best schools in the world. In the US, there are no discrimination between the polytechnic and universities. Polytechnics award degrees and diplomas, masters and Phds. We can be like them. Albert Einstein, a foremost scientist who discovered electricity, was at the Swiss Federal Institute of technology (a polytechnic), where he studied maths and physics. He didn't make the significant discovery after his higher degrees. Several news medias where awash with news of the second reading of the bill at the senate. My impression is that reporters and editors alike are expectant of a new dawn. Several news reports, news analysis and editorials viewed it as a positive development. An analysis in the guardian newspaper said," barring any unforeseen circumstances, the bill seeking to abolish the needless discrimination between polytechnic and university graduates in the county, which is before the national assembly, may sail through in the life of this assembly. I wish to share in this optimism.

A recent court suit filed at the National industrial court, Abuja, by polytechnic graduates: Garba Bello, Babatunde Samuel, Justin Kadiri, Christiana Owolabi, Cuba Umechukwu and Fatima Ahmed, against the National Council on Establishment (NCE), Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (HCSF), and the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), may bring to a positive end the lingering tussle by polytechnic graduates for government to do the needful. My thoughts are with the claimants as they pursue the case against the federal government, and seeking what they genuinely deserve as graduates. . More power to their elbows.

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