BSc vs HND in Nigeria

I got a call from a friend last week asking me to help her niece who just finished NYSC service to get a job in the company where I work.

Of course I was willing to do whatever I could to help so I asked her to forward her CV to me which she did almost immediately.

However when I opened the CV, my heart fell. The lady had a HND degree and my company’s policy was to employ only BSc degree holders.


I felt so bad that I called my friend and demanded why she allowed her niece go to a polytechnic when she was well aware of how they were viewed in the Nigerian society.

She explained that her niece was from an average family (in terms of resources), and since ND program was cheaper and for a shorter duration, she opted for it so she could quickly finish and get a job so she could help her family.

Fortunately, she was able to continue on to complete her HND studies and now she really needed a job.

What a story!

I know that this BSc HND dichotomy has been on for a while and it seems that instead of receding, the discrimination against HND holders seem to be getting even worse.

Even when BSc and HND holders are employed together, the BSC holder would usually earn more than their HND counterpart. Even more shameful is the way the
Banking/Financial institutions treat HND holders – they are only employed as contract staffs and paid less than 50% of what they would have earned as BSc holders.

Little wonder most candidates now rush and lobby for University admission, thereby killing Nigerian’s technical education which the polytechnics mainly offer.

By the way, I can tell you in all honesty that I have seen both strong and weak graduates from both institutions, so it is really a matter of the individual, not the institution.

What is the way forward?

Should this disparity between HND and BSC holders continue?

Shouldn’t HND holders be recognized for their technical prowess in certain courses?

After all, the HND is fully recognised in the UK and have several equivalents in other European countries. What then is all the fuss about it in Nigeria?

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Personally, I think that the polytechnics are doing a great job despite all the discrimination against them and if the Government does nothing to stem the increasing inequality, we may have a big problem looming in the future.

Some measures the government could take going forward include:

  • Establish a law that equates HND to BSC (at least in certain courses)
  • Compel organizations to reduce the salary disparity between BSc and HND holders
  • Reduce fees in polytechnics
  • Equate cut off marks for both institutions
  • Government can put in facilities to upgrade the polytechnics

If the Government cannot change the state of things for whatever reason, then Polytechnic education in Nigeria should be scraped to avoid further frustration of Nigerian HND graduates who now see themselves as second class citizens compared to their BSC counterparts.

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My candid advice to the Nigerian HND holder who have suffered (or is still suffering) this discrimination, and to every Nigerian HND holder who has been denied certain positions and promotions just because of their degree is this: do not let any man-made disparity make you feel less than yourself and give up on your ambition.

You have gone through a higher education and you have what it takes, so go for it!
By the way, there is even a dichotomy between federal and state university graduates, but that is a story for another post.


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