Stopping polytechnics from awarding degrees discriminatory – ASUP


ASUPThe National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr Anderson Ezeibe, has described the tertiary education system in Nigeria as one that cannot stand global competitiveness.

Ezeibe, who spoke in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday, also faulted the decision of the Federal Government to stop polytechnics from awarding degrees.

The ASUP president described the decision as discriminatory while adding that the carrying capacity of Nigerian universities is not enough for the number of degree-seeking candidates.

He said, “All over the world, institutions that meet the curriculum, manpower and infrastructural demands for the production of graduands in any class of certification, whether degree, diploma, or other sub-degree certifications are allowed to run such programmes, irrespective of the name of the institution. Yet in Nigeria, our indolent officials continue to deploy retrogressive tools like these misplaced directives to underdevelop tertiary education in the country.

“The directives are discriminatory, as no one has asked universities that are currently awarding diplomas to stop. This unfortunate discriminatory disposition is consistent with the government’s stance on nurturing the HND/degree dichotomy, which has left millions of young Nigerians depressed and with low self-esteem. This is unfortunate.”

Ezeibe maintained that degree-awarding status was not and could not be the exclusive preserve of universities

He continued, “Degree-awarding status is not and cannot be the exclusive preserve of universities, even in those countries where we run for loans. The western world has since moved on from such conservative thoughts, and polytechnics are awarding degrees up to postgraduate levels in such climes as long as the requirements for such are met. This is destroying intellectual adventure and competition in the tertiary education space and is even undermining the university system, as seen in the strict rules concerning curriculum development.

“Our tertiary institutions are not responding to national needs and global trends due to the overbearing disposition of the government in the name of supervision and regulation.

“The government has not come out to say that these polytechnics (who were accredited in the first place following due diligence) are not meeting up with the curriculum, infrastructural, and manpower demands to run degree programmes. This underlines our position that the directive is not guided by any form of objectivity or driven by national interest.

“The Federal Polytechnic Act (2019) Amendment has given legal backing to polytechnics to produce graduates in the high-manpower category. So are we saying that producing degree holders falls below a high level of manpower development?

“We are restating and will not back down on our position and demand that Nigerian polytechnics that meet up with the requirements in manpower, infrastructure, and curriculum should be awarding degrees, as this is the surest way to abolish the age-long HND/degree dichotomy in the country, and this demand is in the national interest.”

He argued that the Nigerian university system could not cope with the surge of young Nigerians searching for degree certification, while the reverse was the case with the polytechnic system.

“If the polytechnics are granted degree-awarding status, the picture will be different, as the space and access will be enlarged to accommodate such Nigerians without sacrificing the niche of the polytechnics in the area of technological education.

“Officials of the Federal Ministry of Education should leave their comfort zones and be ready to engage productively in the national interest on the subject rather than hide their indolence under the guise of supervision and keeping to obsolete and now irrelevant standards. They must come to terms with the realities of global trends and national manpower demand,” he added.

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