Management Perception Of B.Sc Certificate Holders and Their HND Counterparts in Nigerian Civil Service


This chapter is mainly devoted to the review of various works that are available and accessible which have been done by some authorities.  In order to achieve the purpose of this study, the review is divided into segments in the following order:

  1. Historical development of the classification of certificates in higher institutions of learning in Nigeria
  2. The civil service definitions, structure, functions aims and objectives.

  • Categories of staff in the civil service
  1. Factors responsible for the discrimination between holders of HND and B. Sc certificates.

According to Akinyele, (1992), the historical development of certificates in Nigeria originated during the colonial era.  The British, in an effort to train Nigerians who would be capable to handle too manpower / offices found it necessary and important to introduce their educational system.  This led to the establishment of Higher College at Yaba between 1932 to 1947, as well as the awards of diplomas.  The advent of a university education in Nigeria was later developed when Yaba Higher College was moved to Ibadan in 1947  and began lectures in 1948 on the recommendation of the Elliof commission to be known as University college Ibadan.

In this college, those who passed the intermediate examination as entry requirement after their diploma course were allowed to continue in the college to work for their external degree examinations of the university of London after which they were awarded B. Sc.

Admission into this college was very difficult.  As such, critics saw its restrictive admission policies and its offering of classical university education in line with London directives in terms of the proverbial colonial education.  As a result, the university of Nigeria Nssukka (UNN) came up in 1960.  this means the breaking away from the restrictive access of university education unlike its mentor which practiced 3 – years degree programme after, intermediary examination, UNN introduced the 6-3-3-4 system.  This means that every university will be required to mount on 4 years degree programme after which the B. Sc or B A would be awarded.

Although Ugwu (1998) revealed that a polytechnic education came to Nigeria as a prototype institution of higher learning with the adventure of Yaba Higher College, history shows that it did not continue.  The moving of the college to Ibadan and its liason with the university of London made the diploma aware not recognized and noticed.

With time, the formulation of educational polices were therefore geared towards the development of a pattern which would transfer the requisite skills.  The introduction of those disciplines with vocation and professional courses led to the establishment of instutions for technical education in the 1970s.  the aim was to bridge the wide gap of the requirements for the 6-3-3-4 system; hence, the awards of Diplomas and Certificates of Education.

Decree No.1 of 1974 Principal Legal instrument set up National Universities Commission (NUC) while National Board for Technical Education was established by Decree No. 9 of 1977.  the former was instituted to coordinate university education whereas the latter was established to cater for technical education.  It must be realized that the highest qualification obtainable in the polytechnics is Higher National Diploma (HND) while in the college of Education is Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) whereas in the Universities Bachelor of Science (B. Sc) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) are obtained as first degrees.  If one wishes one can go further for higher studies.  These aforesaid qualifications are classified or regarded as of equal status and therefore placed on Grade Level 08 on first appointment in the civil service. This is because of their importance and proficiency in their various areas of disciplines.

However, Dick 92000) states that the different certificates obtainable from Higher Institutions of learning in Nigeria are classified thus:

Certificate Entry point Maximum limit
B. Sc / BA/B.ED/B.TECH/B.ENGG.L G.L 08 17
L L B G.L 09 17
M.Sc / MA/ MBA G.L 09 17
Ph. D G.L 10 17


It is also worthy to note that a HND Cerfiticate holder cannot rise to the position of permanent secretary in the civil service.  He will always be subordinated to a B. Sc certificate holder.  If he aspires for a higher qualification like M.Sc he must do post graduate Diploma (PGD), where as his counter part does not have to do that.


Part iv, section 277(1) of the 1979 constitution defines the public service of the federation as “the service of the federation in any capacity in respect of the government of the federation and include services……” it proceeds to list a number of officers; clerk or other staff of the courts of Judicature of the federation and states, member or staff of any commission or authority established for the federation or state, staff of any company or Authority established for the federation or state.  Staff of any company or enterprise in which the government or its agencies holds a controlling share or interest, members of the timed forces and the policies staff of a local government council of a statutory corporation, educational institutions established or principally financed by government.

The fifth Schedule which prescribes a code of conduct for “Public officers” defines a public servant in section 21 as a person holding any of the offices specified in part II of this schedule.  The list in part II excludes from public office chairman and members of adhoc commissions, tribunals, committee; but it goes beyond the definitions of part iv section 277(1) because it now includes elective as well as appointive political public officers, the president and vice-president, governors and their Deputies, Ministers and commissioners, members and staff of the Legislative Houses, Chairman, Directors of all corporations, companies in which the state has controlling interest.  The intention here is clear; the specified offices are governed by the code of conduct and therefore should extend the net wider than the regular meaning of public office holder.

The definitions in part iv defined the public service for the purpose of running the offices of states.  While the fifth schedule refers to how these specified public officers should conduct themselves in public and Private.  The fifth schedule thus provides a moral basis for judging the performance of the public officers.

Part iv, section 277(1) also defines the civil service as ‘the service of the federation (state) in a civil capacity as staff of the office of the president, the vice-president, a ministry or department of the government of the federation (state) assigned with the responsibility for any business of the government of the federation (state)’.  It is narrower than the ‘Public Service’ either as defined in the same part iv as defined in the fifth schedule.  It includes Judicial officers, Bard and officers of the statutory corporations or companies in which the government has an interest however large, members of Armed Forces and the police”.  It follows that Civil servants are public servant but not all public servants are civil servants.

Traditionally defined, civil service is the totality of civil bureaucracy set up by modern governments to administer and execute their policies and programmes.

According to the Civil service Handbook (1997) the Civil service is a growing body or organ that  enjoys continuity of existence.  The officials engaged in it otherwise known as the civil servants unlike.  Members of the legislative arm or organ of government are not limited to a short period of time in office at the expiration of which they may or may not be returned to office.  The civil servant remain in office where as elected members or officers in the government come and go.  For what ever reasons, when a civil servant leaves his office either on compulsory, voluntary retirement or by registration or by termination of appointment, his office is taken over by another person or office who similarly enjoys security of employment.

The civil servants in the service, collectively command a pool of experience and know-how for implementation of government policies.  The body which is the civil service is the instrument of the government of the day.  Therefore, this organ is always indispensable to any incoming government.  However, neither the civil service not the servants are the partisans of any particular political party. It is the duty and responsibility of the labinet i.e council of ministers otherwise known as federal executive council to determine government policies and programmes on various matters.  And it is the duty of the civil service to assist in formulating and implementing these policies and programmes approved by government.

At Federal level, there is the federal civil service commission which vested with the authority of recruiting federal civil servants whose establihment is provided for in the constitution.  From time to time, the federal civil service commission delegates its authority in respect of appointments, promotions and discipline of specified staff to Ministries / Extra – Ministerial Departments.  It may also issue from time to time guidelines as deemed appropriate.

Like the federal civil service, every state civil service has its civil service commission which is responsible for appointments, transfers and secondment, promotions and discipline.  As its discretion, a state civil service commission may delegate some of its powers to Ministries / Extra-Ministerial Departments.  As a rule, communications to any civil service commission are addressed to the chairman of that commission.  In order to accelerate clearance of matters by the commission, officers should be conversant with the extant government regulations and guidelines.


According to Udenta (1999), “Civil service is organized in a pyramid form with the most senior ranles at the top and the junior ranks at the bottom”.

The pyramidal shape is also built on the fact that most of the senior ranks are fewer in number of employees than that of the lowest ranks.  In this connection, the number of employees like cleaners, clerks, and labours is several hundreds of times over more than that of permanent secretaries or directors – General and other top level officers.

The civil service structure consists of ministries, departments, commissions, boards and sections.  Examples of these are ministries of agriculture and natural resource board of federal inland revenue service, department of customs and exercise and the section for international education.  The ministry is the highest unit in the whole hierarchy, officials who are in charge of each level are as follows:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *