Salim Umar Ibrahim
In this exclusive Interview with the Rector, Kano state Polytechnic, Dr. Kabir Bello Dungurawa, he spoke extensively to The Campus Watch on the issue of HND/BSc dichotomy, an issue that has lingered for long and seeking the attention of the legislature.
Q. Upon hearing the good news that the Nigerian senate has passed a bill in favour of the HND/BSc dichotomy, how do you look at it?
A. First of all people need to know what is HND and what is Degree. Like we all knew, HND is usually a five year course. It’s a top up for those who acquired ND which usually is 2 years and there is the practical aspect which covers one year all over five years which qualifies one to be eligible for the mandatory NYSC like those who did their degree straight up.
Degree offers duration ranging from three to five years depending on course duration and how one was enrolled. Be it direct entry or otherwise. And there are courses like that of sciences which has relatively different durations. Between the two, the connecting line is the mandatory NYSC program.
Speaking of the law passed by the national assembly. First of all we need to know where the issue of dichotomy is coming from. First of all, the separate admission one gets to meet up depends on his or her grade to be eligible. It follows a strategic pattern while if you come back to those at the University, mostly the admission process came through admission regulatory agencies or board, mostly through JAMB or otherwise.
Looking at the other part, I am talking about employment status, you will see that one who is employed with HND starts from level 6 and ends at level 12 while University graduate starts from level 7 and can reach up to the peak of his career by becoming permanent secretary in any ministry he found himself while HND ends at level 13.
I want to bring it very clear that those who study from colleges of sciences and technology, the technical knowledge acquired becomes a plus to them by being independent where there is no job while those from the University usually the emphasis is limited in terms of technical knowledge unlike those from colleges of sciences and technology. We call them technicians and engineers respectively.
Courses varies, because what college of science and technology emphasises on is majority of practical orientation with limited theory unlike undergraduate student who offers mostly theory aspects.
Coming back again to the employment status, the labour market favours the technician because of his practical skills unlike those from the University. But, the pressing issue is the University graduate are given more attention than their counterparts into organisations.
In a nutshell, this is a little from what the dichotomy has brought.
Another thing we should remember is the starting point and the desired destination at workplace. Honestly, BSc holder is given more priority.
Having that in the mind of HND graduate plays an important role in the productivity of the employee. Even among them, they establish superiority complex in-between regardless of the service they render which has gross negative effect.
Even the University contribute or practice this. For instance, when a HND holder want to go for his master’s degree, they will not offer him direct admission even with distinction unless he goes through post graduate diploma to measure up.
If you have 20 job seekers who are equally HND and BSc holders, you find that the half holding BSc got employed and the rest where rejected which plays a negative role in the minds of the job seeker.
Colleges of sciences and technology provides what we call level manpower which enable them to run industries efficiently.
Seriously, this issue of dichotomy discourages students to go for HND and also from the parents part, they prefer their children to go to the University which in turn creates lots of candidates that could not get admission due to the high level of demand that the University can’t afford to take upon itself.
What again that contribute to that is, when one wrote JAMB, the cut-off mark required also puts it clear that the college of science and technology are inferior – directly dictates it to prospective candidates and parents forgetting that even the fingers are not equal.
For majority of them, it’s not the issue of just going to the University, it’s a competitive edge that one has to measure up with contemporaries, family members and friends that’s contributing to that and along the way you see students failing woefully because it’s wasn’t something they hold at heart initially. The motive to get there is negative.
Q. How are you looking at the law passed by the national assembly, do you see it as the right way to clear all this issues or there are others things that needs to be done?
A. First of all I will have to thank the national assembly for being steadfast in looking into the matter.
Like I said earlier, reputation of college of science and technology was at stake, but with this, we believe and hope to see it revived plus employment line will surely be breached because, with their employability skills, he or she will be independent and even those who are into the civil service will benefit from it. The masters admission process will be equal. Lower to third class, lower and upper degrees respectively.
When you look deep into Unions and Associations in our institutions, you discover that majority of their problems emanate from this dichotomy issue which in cases even take them to being on strike. This, i believe too, will surely deal with this problem.
Q. Now that the law is passed, what do you have in store to make sure your students have the courage – mindset orientation?
I always advise students to be steadfast with what they came to do in school. Anything else unrelated to their studies should be left behind.
They should keep it in mind that be it degree or HND, what is important is the hope that God Almighty bless it. What God has blessed is the major concern.
If you are self employed, the tendency of you being a hope for others in your community surpass everything. Having branches everywhere will help curtail the menace of unemployment.
Q. Lastly, What is your call to students?
Students should be the ambassador’s of their respective homes, institutions and everywhere they find themselves.
The socialisation they experience from family to friends should be something they always look back to and make sure they copy and emulate good virtues.
Q. Anything else?
Our relationship with the state government, honestly, I must thank the governor of Kano state immensely for his support to the course of education in the state and Kano state Polytechnic. The commissioner for higher education, we will forever be grateful. Their concerns in all aspect of our operations must of course be acknowledged.
Thank you for your time.