By Ibrahim Muhammad
Universities, Colleges and Polytechnics in Nigeria are synonymous to Tertiary Institutions or Schools for Higher Education in Europe and some developed countries.
Colleges of education produce Professional Teachers, Technicians and Scientists with practical experience are produced in Polytechnics, Universities cover all and award Masters Degree, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) as well as Professorship respectively. The area of serious contention that baffles me much is the matter of unnecessary difference in duration before obtaining a degree amongst the three tiers.
It is obvious, one must spend a minimum of 6 years before obtaining a degree through College of Education: (NCE 3years + D.E three (3) years = 6 years), Five (5) years through Polytechnic: (ND two (2) years + IT 1year + HND 2 years = 5years), but only four years in University. After all, all students must pass through JAMB before getting admission into any of the Tertiary Institutions.
Looking at the above critical analysis, it is obvious, the time expected to be spent in University before obtaining a degree is less than that of College of Education and Polytechnic. Yet, University graduands attract more recognition and priority when it comes to employment and other privileges. In some cases, the products of Colleges of education and Polytechnics happen to be more professionally and practically productive, compared to the direct product of Universities.
Why the difference and imposed hardship? I foresee compromise of standard, violation of equal right for education as stipulated in NPE, hardship and instability in the Tertiary system of education in my dear country Nigeria.
In order to reduce the hardship imposed on the local natives who are determined to be educated by all means, as well as re-stabilizing the system to be more flexible for all, and ensure equity and equality, I, therefore, urge the statehooders to kindly consider the following recommendations:
1. JAMB Policy of giving utmost priority to University in terms of cut of marks, followed by Polytechnic then College of Education should be reviewed, because the low graded students are mostly the ones who merely go to Colleges and Polytechnics by accident, that serves as the basis of unnecessary dichotomy and license to the production of less competent Teachers and Technicians/Scientists in Nigeria.
2. Let the three tiers be considered equal by law in terms of function and award of Degree but differ in purpose. Instead of spending three years for NCE, the Colleges should produce Teachers in four years and issue them, Bachelor of Education, at the completion, Polytechnics should do the same in their own way, Universities should also be operating as they are.
3. NCE program should be revised and operated as Grade II as it used to be, it will undoubtedly help a lot in producing class teachers that can proficiently and effectively teach all subjects at Pre-Primary and Primary level.
4. The manpower and infrastructure in the Federal Colleges and Polytechnics should be adequately upgraded.