Why HND/BSc di­chotomy should be abol­ished – Rec­tor

Daily Trust - - EDUCATION - From Ab­dul­lahi Anako, Dutse

What are your achieve­ments in the few years you have spent as the Rec­tor of Hus­saini Adamu Federal Polytech­nic Kaza­ure?

Al­ham­dulil­lah I am barely two years old in this polytech­nic. One of the achieve­ments of my ad­min­is­tra­tion is the peace we have en­joyed since I took over though we are cur­rently on strike but the strike is not in­ter­nal. One area we have placed em­pha­sis on in the last two years is staff de­vel­op­ment - both aca­demic and non-teach­ing staff. Through TETFUND, we have been able to de­velop the ca­pac­ity of our staff. We have also im­proved the gen­eral in­fra­struc­ture in the school. I think my great­est suc­cess is the in­crease in the num­ber of aca­demic pro­grammes we have achieved in the last two years. We have added nine new pro­grammes. The polytech­nic had about 13 pro­grammes be­fore I took over and with the ad­di­tion of nine new pro­grammes, we now have about 22 pro­grammes in the polytech­nic. By and large, this is a great achieve­ment. These nine new ones are in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, en­gi­neer­ing, and also hu­man­i­ties. Ini­tially, we didn’t have any man­age­ment course but to­day we have an ap­proval of the Na­tional Board for Tech­ni­cal Ed­u­ca­tion (NBTE) to start ND Ac­coun­tancy, ND Li­brary Sci­ence, and ND Mass Com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Cur­rently, the polytech­nic is 100 per­cent sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy and I can say we are al­most the only polytech­nic in Nigeria with 100 per­cent sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy pro­grammes. So, if you look at it we are try­ing to im­prove the in­fra­struc­ture of the polytech­nic, we are try­ing to in­tro­duce new pro­grammes in the polytech­nic, we are hop­ing to con­tinue with de­vel­op­ing the ca­pac­ity of our staff both aca­demic and non aca­demic staff.

Can you be spe­cific on the de­vel­op­ment in the area of in­fra­struc­ture?

Of course, in terms of in­fra­struc­ture we’ve been able to ac­quire more land. Ini­tially this polytech­nic was a state owned one and if you look at the his­tory of the school, it was ac­tu­ally a sec­ondary school con­verted to polytech­nic in 1991 so the struc­tures we have are meant for a sec­ondary school and the land area is also very small. We were able to ac­quire an­other fifty hectares of land in ad­di­tion to what we have to make over a hun­dred hectares. We con­structed new classes, new work­shops, and lab­o­ra­to­ries. We were also able to pur­chase a num­ber of equip­ment be­cause be­fore NBTE gives you ap­proval to start a new pro­gramme, you must have in­fra­struc­ture, classes, work­shops, equip­ment, and of course you must have the re­quired num­ber of lec­tur­ers, li­brary and text books.

Can you tell us some of the chal­lenges you have en­coun­tered so far?

The chal­lenges have to do with fund­ing. Like I told you, we want to ex­pand and we want to in­crease the num­ber of pro­grammes be­ing of­fered in the polytech­nic. I would have loved to in­tro­duce ten pro­grammes at the time, but of course you know the con­cern is the fund­ing. If you want to in­tro­duce ten pro­grammes you have to spend much. We are am­bi­tious in de­vel­op­ing the polytech­nic but we are hand­i­capped by fund. An­other chal­lenge is that we in­her­ited a sec­ondary school. It was a sec­ondary school con­verted into a polytech­nic, so you can un­der­stand that the ini­tial con­cept of the school was not for a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion. The build­ings we in­her­ited are so old that we are try­ing to see how we can re­ha­bil­i­tate or even con­struct new ones. An­other chal­lenge is wa­ter short­age which we are al­most solv­ing. Of course, elec­tric­ity is an­other chal­lenge though not pe­cu­liar to this polytech­nic but I can as­sure you we are do­ing our best and with the as­sis­tance of federal govern­ment agencies like TETFUND, we are do­ing a lot.

An­other chal­lenge is the con­struc­tion of the mul­ti­pur­pose en­gi­neer­ing com­plex which re­quires a lot of money. We have spent over N300m on that com­plex. We hope it will be com­pleted in 2014. By the time we com­plete that com­plex, all our en­gi­neer­ing pro­grammes will be ac­com­mo­dated in that build­ing. That build­ing houses about eigh­teen work­shops, so you can see how im­por­tant that work­shop is to the de­vel­op­ment of this

polytech­nic.

Any stu­dent re­lated prob­lems?

When you have a collection of stu­dents, of course you will have nor­mal stu­dent-re­lated prob­lems which one can­not run away from but for the ma­jor one - which is cultism, I think Hus­saini Adamu Federal Polytech­nic records zero per­cent in cultism. A sub­stan­tial num­ber of the stu­dents are ac­com­mo­dated in the cam­pus and we are do­ing our best to main­tain them. We have con­stant sup­ply of wa­ter in the hos­tel. Elec­tric­ity wise we can’t give 100 per­cent but we are do­ing our best to give them elec­tric­ity in the day time and even in the night through our stand-by gen­er­a­tor. In this area, I need to thank the Ji­gawa State govern­ment for as­sist­ing the polytech­nic with a 500 KVA gen­er­at­ing set. It is serv­ing the polytech­nic well. We also have a stu­dents’ hos­tel con­structed by the govern­ment of Akwa-Ibom State un­der the lead­er­ship of Gover­nor God­swill Ak­pabio. We are grate­ful to them. The Kaza­ure Emi­rate and stake­hold­ers in Kaza­ure have also been of great as­sis­tance to the polytech­nic.

What is your take on this di­chotomy be­tween polytech­nic and univer­sity grad­u­ates?

It is re­ally a big prob­lem, but I be­lieve that per­for­mance is what should be the ba­sis of as­sess­ment. Re­mem­ber that to­day the en­try point for stu­dents into any polytech­nic is the same five cred­its in­clud­ing Maths and English, and the stu­dent is also re­quired to pass JAMB, but then the dif­fer­ence is in the cut-off mark in which that of the univer­sity is higher than that of the polytech­nic.

How­ever, a polytech­nic stu­dent spends two years to ac­quire Na­tional Di­ploma (ND) and then goes for one year In­dus­trial Train­ing (IT) to get prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence be­fore he goes back for an­other two years to ac­quire Higher Na­tional Di­ploma (HND), which means it takes five years to ac­quire HND while you need only four years to ac­quire a de­gree.

Per­son­ally, I think that di­chotomy be­tween polytech­nic and univer­sity grad­u­ates should be re­moved. It should be re­moved or else you are say­ing that ev­ery­body must go to univer­sity and ac­quire a de­gree. We are ne­glect­ing tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion.

I was among a del­e­ga­tion that vis­ited Ger­many re­cently to study their sys­tem of ed­u­ca­tion and the sys­tem of ed­u­ca­tion in Ger­many is dual, dual in the sense that you spend two days in the class­room per week and three days in the in­dus­try. They don’t bother much with the kind of cer­tifi­cate you have, what mat­ters is what you can do. Are we now say­ing that if you go to the in­dus­tries, what a holder of BSc in Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing can do the holder of Higher Na­tional Di­ploma in Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neer­ing can­not do? In fact, in the 70s in Nigeria, in­dus­tries em­ployed more grad­u­ates of poly­tech­nics, so the em­pha­sis should be on what skills you have, what you can do and what you can of­fer.

Let’s look at the cur­ricu­lum; are they re­ally a 100 per­cent dif­fer­ent? They are not, so in other words we are teach­ing the en­tire stu­dents al­most the same thing. I don’t think there is any­thing a grad­u­ate of BSc Elec­tri­cal En­gi­neer­ing in the univer­sity stud­ies that a grad­u­ate of ND or HND Elec­tri­cal En­gi­neer­ing doesn’t study.

If you look at our ed­u­ca­tional sec­tor to­day, the pres­sure on ad­mis­sion is more on the uni­ver­si­ties be­cause ev­ery Nige­rian wants to ac­quire a de­gree from the univer­sity, and we don’t blame them be­cause they are told a de­gree is bet­ter than a higher na­tional di­ploma, which is not true.

If you go to Ger­many, 70-80 per­cent of their chil­dren go to the polytech­nic. They ac­quire tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion, and of course Ger­many is to­day one of the most de­vel­oped coun­tries. In Ger­many, they have less than 7 per­cent un­em­ploy­ment. This is be­cause they en­cour­age tech­ni­cal and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion. That should be our em­pha­sis not paper qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

Dr Kabiru Matazu

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