My heart was filled with joy when I saw a friend from undergraduate days, seven years after graduation during the week. Without doubt, we are both doing fine, looking fresh, chubby and overall working in good organisations.
In less than five minutes discussions with my friend who is working in a bank, narrated the discriminations against HND holders in the Banking sector.
According to him, “Working in the banking sector with Higher National Diploma (HND) certificate is equivalent to working with Ordinary National Diploma or Senior Secondary School Certificate. You don’t get bonus and other incentives, despite contributing meaningfully to the overall productivity of the bank.
“It’s sad and terrible. Sometimes I regret going to the polytechnic. I just think the best thing is to get first degree and move to next level. ”
These are the emotional and psychological pain polytechnic graduates experience daily to the discriminations in both government and private sectors.
Who are we to blame? Nobody because polytechnic core objective is to train middle-level manager and technician, while University system is designed to train students to master of theory i.e manager who play the lead role in the organisation.
Similarly, HND holders working in government ministries, departments and agencies are also facing the same challenge. The civil service policy limits them from reaching peak of their careers, as the can’t rise beyond level 15 even with post graduate qualifications.
Evidently, a colleague at Post Graduate Class in Lagos State University, Folasade Bolanle who is working with NIPOST complained that she has been denied promotion to next level for two years due to her inability to present her PGD result.
She noted that the circular from the ministry clearly stated HND holders should not for their details without for qualifications.
Furthermore, the discrimination is bad in academic, even in the polytechnic system. HND holders cannot lecture in the polytechnics, they are employed as technologists to handle practical courses.
A lecturer in the polytechnic with three master degrees was denied PhD admission because he didn’t have degree. The lecturer was forced to run two years conversion programme to get degree in the field, he has been teaching for 10 years before proceeding for PhD.
Consequently, many determined HND holders are now going extra miles to get degree. They are travelling long distance to do Topup or conversion programme in universities offering the programmes and taking cooperative loans to pay school fees.
No doubt, only the person that wears the shoe know where it pinches. Therefore, affected HND holders can relate with this story.
Although, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu has vowed to end the discriminations.
However, there is no clear government policy to end this bad menace in the education sector.
Without mincing words, some polytechnic graduates are doing well in their chosen field. For example, Ooni of Ile-Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Governor Rauf Aregbesola and Ayodele Fayose of Osun and Ekiti states respectively are product of Polytechnic system.
Moreso, to develop this country and move the nation to greater height, we must shift from glorifying certificate but focus on competence and performance.
My candid advice for all fellow HND holders is bad experience to get double honours and strategically position ourselves for higher task and responsibility in future
****Oyewale is an Image Perception Expert based in Ilorin