University & Poly Education Cannot Be Same – AAUA VC
Why should we expect the university and the polytechnic education to be the same? These are the words of Professor Femi Mimiko, the Vice Chancellor of Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State (AAUA). He made this known in an interview with with CLEMENT IDOKO on the abduction of 200 Chibok Schoolgirls, HND, First Degree dichotomy and sundry issues in education sector. (Full interview available on Tribune Newspaper Web Portal). Excerpts below:
How do you think this issue of dichotomy between the First Degree and HND holders can be resolved, because as we are talking, public Polytechnics have been on strike for almost 11 months now over issues of discrimination in remuneration and whole lot of others?
I don’t think it’s a problem. I don’t think it is. Again, it is part of, the inanity is that we bandied around in Nigeria. Why should we expect the university and the polytechnic education to be the same? Number one, if you look at the national policy on education, the objectives are different. The objectives are well clearly laid out and different. One is to train middle level manpower; the other is to train high level manpower. Even as a Vice Chancellor, I recruit lecturers everyday and the appointment criteria for a lecturer into the university system is quite different from that of the people who go into the colleges of education and polytechnics. The criteria for promotion and advancement are completely different.
For me, it is the wrong way of posing the question by saying shouldn’t they be equal, which is more important. My argument has always been that both of them are critical and very important to an economy like this. Perhaps, the polytechnic graduate is actually more important to a new economy like ours. And I have said this on several occasions that I have seen in jurisdictions where graduates of polytechnics earned much more than graduates of universities. I was in a University in Malaysia and the head of food technology was so happy to introduce to me the chief chef that was helping with the training of students. The man proudly came in his regalia to the office where I was being hosted and they told me that this man you are looking at earns more than the President of this university and that when they got him to join the university, the university celebrated because they had to porch him from a five-star hotel in town and they said since he joined them, every year before the students have their final exams, hotels all over are already queuing to pick their students because they know that these students that pass through this man must be first class.
In the United States, I knew people who were fixing cables, who in the morning would come with all the tools around their waist, would climb the poles, fix the cables that and were earning more than professors. So, for me, it’s not a question of which is more important. What we should do is to put more funds, put more attention to technical and vocational education because if you don’t have that, the country will not develop. In the United States, not many people aspire to go to the university system, most Americans graduate from the community college system, that is two years after high school and they begin to work. They constitute the bedrock of the American economy and that for me, is the way to address the thing and not to begin to ask which is more important. Both are important. But I think we must pose the question appropriately.
So, in essence the supremacy battle between the universities and the polytechnics…….(Cuts in)
It’s uncalled for, it’s unnecessary, it’s misdirected.