Polytechnic Versus The University

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    Sep 27, 2013
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In my own independent opinion, one of the most significant sector of the economy is the EDUCATIONAL SECTOR.  Why Is this so? Because it is the only sector that builds the future of the upcoming bright generation and it is the only sector that liberates the people from ignorance. Nations who foresee and are well aware of this, places much emphasy on it.  Undoubtedly education is the best legacy, just as the saying goes. It is the only treasure parents can offer their wards.

Commendably, the international organization UNESCO have tenets which nations have responsibly signed the treaty such as percentage of education from the national budget, standard of infrastructure, qualifications of teachers etc. Good safeguard of future. Isn’t it? Now, coming back to our dear nation Nigeria, Sadly! The reverse is now the case. Well, I want to address another lacuna amongst numerous in the educational sector of Nigeria, the polytechnic versus the university.

Objectively, polytechnic is an institute of learning established primarily as an institute of technology to complement the ministry of education, science and technology for the purpose of developing technology and technological know-how through rigorous practicals. Polytechnic are majorly involved in practical and are expected to bring out innovations, if they are well supported and equipped. Polytechnics student spend two years on OND, one year compulsory industrial training and another two years for the HND programme which makes a total of five years.

So, a student must be well grounded in his/her chosen field by the time he/she finishes from school. Let me note here that, polytechnics graduates because of their well meaning exposure are more experienced and versatile than their university counterparts who focus only on theoretical aspect. In the bid of gaining this theory knowledge, they tend to cram and write examinations, and am sure, that is not true education. Education that is not interested in putting into practice what is being learnt in school is not to be relied on.
Without much adue, what are we driving at here? the lack of direction of the government in ameliorating the discrimination of the polytechnic graduates. Though, their argument will be that the statute establishing the polytechnic states that “to create a middle level man power for the labour market” what is the meaning of that? It literarily mean that the constitution provision made the polytechnic graduates second fiddle for their university counterparts.

Oblivious of the fact that this polytechnic graduates have spent more years in the learning institution, that they are more practical, they are more experienced and exposed and they are more useful in the nation’s development than their university colleagues. So the question is “what is the place of this people in the labour market?  Categorically, I opined that they are entitled to orientation, so that they will know what they are going into before they embark on that discriminatory system of the labour market.

The lack of responsibility of the government also, has bridged the gap because they failed to spur the demand of this people in the labour market. What is the hope of these graduates, if they are to be made middle-class workers and you are not creating any viable employment? A nation that is ready to tread the path of success will create an environment for this polytechnic graduates  to bring their skill-set for nation’s development.

Furthermore, it is no longer surprising that employers of labour prefer university graduates to polytechnic ones, even some CEO’s and MD’s who themselves have passed through the system prefer university graduates, they have not only refused to employ polytechnic graduates but they have successfully made those set of Nigerians inferior. Probably, they are ashamed.

So in this type of economy where government have failed to differentiate what they want and established infrastructure of where this people will work. I ask again, what is the hope of the polytechnics? They have no choice than to play the game of the government and subject themselves sadly to the demand of the labour market which means they have to go back and acquire a university degree. What a pity! Because the impact of this is usually enormous, going through the stress of the campus again.

Some are lucky or wise, they quickly acquire this knowledge and some who could not due to some common restraints continue in that circus. Promotion is first considered for the university degree holder before them. Factual enough, in  the civil service they do remain in the level14 for quite an unusual number of years.

Hopelessly, I ask, which way Nigeria? To get you abreast of what is happening around the world most polytechnics in Asia, America, India  and even Ghana have upgraded to the status of a degree awarding institution, so that they will be at par, because this responsible government have a direction. In this nations, the polytechnic are established as technology oriented and provided with technical skills, so that they will become employers of labour. Usually, that does not happen in Nigeria, because most polytechnic students are not capable of being independent.

Then, I am challenging the polytechnic graduates also, to acquire more knowledge and be the best in their chosen field so that they will not depend on the government or paid employment, because now we can see that the government is not concerned about anyone. Though, their entrepreneurial education could sometimes be unrealistic, the polytechnic should make the best use of it.

In rounding up my discourse, irresponsibility has been show-cased in many sectors in the Nigerian government. But, it should not shift to the educational sector. It is a very sensitive part of the economy. Amongst, many irregularities in the sector such as strikes action and low standard of infrastructure, it is expedient the government listen to the pleas of the people and provide a more suitable and competing environment for the polytechnic and university  graduates. If you are not interested in doing this, let the people know and stop wasting the time of learning in this institution. Jamb applicants should not choose polytechnic at all, it’s a dead-end.

A situation that people are not considered for post-graduate degree in university because they have a polytechnic certificate is un-called for. Government stakeholders should build a clear conscience.
Written by  Ademola Taiwo, a  student of      
Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye
Faculty of law @dmltaiwo7gmail.com

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