Background of the Study
Disparity may happen when people are treated unfairly because they are seen as being different from others (Deitch and Farooq, 2003). Disparity can also be seen as a variable of discrimination in which one is treated with superiority over the other. Polytechnics and Universities are producers of HND and Bachelor’s degree graduates respectively. In the Nigerian context, Polytechnics are post-secondary institutions designed to produce career-ready graduates who combine practical competence with theoretical understanding. The broad definition of polytechnic according to Farooq (2010) “is an institution that teaches both academic and vocational subjects, with focus on applied education for work and root concentrated on engineering and applied science. Polytechnic education is a system of education introduced by the government that emphasizes the need to acquired practical training and technological know-how. Universities on the other hand, are said to be institutions designed to produce graduates or products of theoretical understanding and competence. Universities are theoretically-based.
The products or graduates (students who have finished studies at the University or Polytechnic in a particular academic field) from these two educational system are all vital to the wider process of societal change the economic reform and which is needed in its own right. Polytechnics are designed to produce middle-level manpower, which is National Diploma and high-level technical manpower (HND); and the high-level technical manpower is equivalent to the high-level managerial manpower (Bachelor’s Degree) produced by the Universities.
Nigerian HND (Higher National Diploma) is a five years academic study with practical, two years of ND with project report submitted – one year practical (placement) then two years HND with thesis.
Bachelor’s Degree is usually an academic degree awarded for an undergraduate course that generally lasts for four/five years or six years depending on the course undergo by the students.
Bachelor’s Degree is usually academic degree segregation between HND/Bachelor’s degree graduates in terms of employment and job prospects in the labour market such that HND holders are not given equal opportunities with their University counterparts. Labour market functions through the interaction of suppliers of labour services (workers) and demanding of labour services (employers). Labour in economics, refers to all human efforts, physical and/or mental, skilled or unskilled used in the production of goods and services. The reward of labour is called wages or salaries. According to Aderinto, Abubakar, Deitch and Hammed (2006), “A labour market is any institution or arrangement which brings job seekers and employers of labour together within a particular geographical region”. In other words, labour market is a market for the supply of labour and demand for labour. The supply of labour is based on the assumption that workers are willing to supply more labours at higher wages and vice versa. Demand for labour can be defined as the number of labour that employers would required at a varying wage rates.
Lawan (2006), identified that so many HND holders have contributed very meaningfully to the development of Nigeria but the discrimination that is put on them places some kind of disadvantage not only on the holders but on the country as well. Vocational and Technical Education, say analysts, has been identified as the bedrock of the nation’s technological and industrial take off which the nation badly craves for and any policy that discriminates against the products of such technical education is simply a misdirected one.
Statement of the Problem
There has been a bitter dichotomy that has pitched HND graduates against their more favoured graduates from Universities and made the HND graduates subjects of discrimination in promotion and job prospects. It is also disheartening to state that HND holders in Nigeria are still being statutorily and financially indignified in that HND holders are not at par with B.Sc. or B.A. holders in most ministries and parastatals, especially at job progression where HND holders are placed on the ceiling of Salary Grade Level 14 while their University counterpart can go as high as to the peak of their career. In the same vein, HND holders cannot rise to the level of Permanent Secretary unless he/she has acquired Post Graduate Diploma, if not he/she can only mount to the level of a Director and cannot go beyond that till retirement.
It is also a national shame to echo that Nigeria Universities don’t accept HND as one of the entry qualification into Master’s Degree, unless it is backed up by Post Graduate Diploma while First Degree is accepted for direct entry to study Master’s Degree Programmes.