1.1 Background to the study
Polytechnics and Universities are regarded as the highest levels of tertiary institutions in Nigeria. The Polytechnics awards National Diploma (HND) and Higher National Diploma (HND) while the Universities awards Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees along with professional diplomas of the appropriate field of study such as science, arts, engineering etc. Both Polytechnics and Universities by way of curriculum are designed to focus on different levels of manpower training and development (Asibeluo, 2015). This delineation of manpower development and purpose had created a systemic deficiency in the overall life of the Polytechnic education and its products as well as certificates, (HND). The Polytechnics graduates are seen as Diploma holders, while University graduates are seen and called degree holders (Asibeluo, 2015). Until recently entry qualification requirements into Polytechnic were made to be lower than those of the universities, making the Polytechnic to appear lower than the Universities. Polytechnics are designed majorly for technical education. Technical Education is defined as that aspect of education, which leads to the acquisition of practical and applied skills as well as basic and scientific knowledge (Obimah, 2007). UNESCO (1978), as cited by Ekpenyong (2001), defines Technical Education as education designed at upper secondary and lower tertiary levels to produce middle level personnel or technician, middle management technologist etc. and the university prepare engineers and technologists for higher level management positions”. Obimah (2007) asserted that the general public regards technical education as somewhat inferior to other types of education due to the fact that course structure and contents in some of our technical institutions rely mainly on a model based on foreign technical environments (Obimah, 2007).
According to Toby (2000) as cited by Imonigie and Omozuawo (2007), technical education is important to the Nation as a whole because it contributes to our national economic welfare, social mobility and national security.
1.2 Statement of problems
The continued misconception that the university degree is somewhat better, more prestigious and generally more acceptable than the polytechnic diploma has become a major talking point over the years. Many employers today show preference for degree holders above HND holders. Some others consider employing HND certificate holders because they intend to offer a less attractive salary package compared to their counterparts that possess a university degree.
Likewise, some companies prefer evaluation of certificate above other necessities. They believe degree holders are well trained and recognized than HND holders in the labour market, thereby contributing to the existing certificate dichotomy.