By Our Correspondent
The Federal Government has directed polytechnics, monotechnics and other allied institutions to stop awarding degrees. This order was conveyed in a circular, marked TEB/PRO/E/12/Vol.11/132 dated December 1, 2022, by the National Board for Technical Education, directed to heads of the affected institutions. A copy of the document signed by the board’s Director, Polytechnic Programmes Department, Ogoh Ngbede, was obtained by our correspondent.
Ngbede, in the circular, expressed the Federal Ministry of Education’s dismay at the increasing number of tertiary institutions in the country offering programmes for which they were not originally designed to offer. He however said the government has given the affected institutions four years to graduate the last set of students already admitted for such programmes.
The circular read in part, “Polytechnics and other technical institutions in the country should immediately stop admitting students into degree programmes. Similarly, polytechnics and allied institutions awarding Nigerian Certificate in Education should restrict themselves to technical courses. However, already admitted undergraduates for these programmes should be allowed to round up the programmes into which they are already admitted. Institutions have been given a period of four years (up to 2026) to graduate their last set of students for such programmes.”
We recall that the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics has over time called on the government to allow polytechnics to award degrees. Then union’s National President, Anderson Ezeibe, noted that the award of degrees by polytechnics would end the current dichotomy. He said: “HND is no longer as attractive as it used to be to Nigerian youths because of the age-long dichotomy. Policymakers have made it a rule that once an individual has an HND, he cannot attain the peak of his/her career, then why are they continuing to force it on people, why don’t they phase it out and replace it with Bachelor of Technology?”
According to him, the Nigerian polytechnic system has all it takes in terms of infrastructure and human capital to award Bachelor, Master’s and Doctorate degrees in the area of technology. Meanwhile, the Director of Programmes, Reform Education Nigeria, Ayodamola Oluwatoyin, in an interview with our correspondent, backed the government’s decision. She said: “It is a very good initiative. Universities and polytechnics exist for different reasons. While it is largely believed that universities focus on theories, polytechnics focus on practicals. So why should one want to take over the duty of another? However, it is necessary to remind the government about the promise to eliminate the dichotomy between degrees and Higher National Diplomas. We need to understand that the two awards serve different purposes hence, one should not be seen as lower than the other.”