Reasons Why a Polytechnic is Better Than a University

A lot of young Nigerians have been wondering about the reasons Why Polytechnics are Better Than Universities. Are you among the people that have been asking the question? Then ask no more, this article is exactly what you need to satisfy your curiosities, so keep reading this article.

Universities and Polytechnics are the most attended higher institutions in Nigeria, there are over 170 universities (public and private) and 120 polytechnics in Nigeria (public and private).

Before we look at the Reasons Why a Polytechnic is Better than a University, let us take a look at the basics: the definitions.



Universities, on the other hand, are institutions of higher learning that provide facilities for teaching and research and are authorized to grant academic degrees.

For most programs, it takes 4 years to complete but some medical courses and engineering courses usually take longer. Students are awarded a bachelor’s degree upon the completion of their programs at the university.

University deals more with the theoretical aspects of the disciplines or courses and offers different kinds of degrees.


Polytechnics are higher learning institutions that qualify as an institute of technology or vocational training. Polytechnics focus more on training students in experimental and practical learning, giving them practical skills, and also giving them vocational training.

A typical polytechnic program can be completed in 2 years and at the end of the program, a diploma is awarded.

Reasons Why a Polytechnic is Better Than a University

It is a general misconception that polytechnics offer education of lower standards and universities offer a higher standard of education. This misconception may be due to the fact that polytechnics do not require sky-high UTME scores in order to admit students and universities demand higher UTME scores and other credentials to admit students.

The fact that polytechnics have lower cut-off marks than the rest does not mean they offer low-grade education. Universities have a role to play in society and polytechnics also have their role; the university graduates doctors, pharmacists, etc, and polytechnics graduate mechanical engineers, computer scientists, etc they balance themselves out in this way.

Many polytechnic students participate in work-study programs where they finish their studies while doing real-world jobs to obtain experience. This is due to the fact that the curriculum at these institutions emphasizes project-based learning and practical learning to better prepare students for careers in the industry.

Polytechnics offer more specialized and practical forms of education that a student can make use of after graduation. Though polytechnics offer a variety of certificates, they do not award certifications like Ph.D., Bachelor’s Degrees, and Master’s but the ND and HND can be used in universities for continuing education. This debate has dragged on for decades and decades and we hope that this article will help answer part of the puzzles.

Six Reasons Why a Polytechnic is better than a University

Below are some of the reasons why a Polytechnic is better than a University.

1. Flexibility 

A polytechnic offers flexibility in the aspect of changing the learning environment. For instance, a student can obtain an ND (National Diploma) from one school and then transfer the Diploma to another Polytechnic to enroll in an HND (Higher National Diploma) Program.

A polytechnic student might decide to take his/her education a notch higher by transferring the credits to the university to also earn a Bachelor’s Degree cool right?

Also, a polytechnic student can decide to work after being awarded an ND instead of heading straight to enroll in an HND program. This is something that university students cannot do because their courses run for straight four years and no certifications are awarded in between

2. Decreased Pressure

Universities pressurize students more, university students start studying almost immediately after lessons resume in school even when examinations are months away. The GPA system in polytechnics is less harsh on students, a good GPA record can be altered by failing a single course in the university but it is not so in polytechnics.

Polytechnics are more focused on practicals so students are not burdened with copious amounts of notes to read so which makes it easier for students to prepare for examinations. The exposure to practical aspects of each course makes it easier for students to answer questions during an examination.

3. Entrepreneurship

The practical nature of Polytechnic education allows students to be able to apply what they learned in school by establishing small businesses. For instance, a graduate that studied Land Survey can start a career in small land survey jobs because he was instructed based on practicals and not theory.

Even before graduation, a polytechnic student can start making money, this will in turn gain him/her real-world experience in the course.

4. Internship Or Industrial Training

Polytechnic students based on the nature of their education are allowed to work in the field to gather more practical knowledge for up to a year. This internship affords the student the opportunity to gather more knowledge on the day-to-day realities of their chosen course.

This is different for University students as they only get field experience for 6 months, this amount of time is not sufficient for students to learn all that they need to learn concerning their course of study.

Most times what these six months can afford polytechnic students is enough time to learn about the theoretical aspect of the job only. This is why most companies that deal with crafts are more likely to employ polytechnic graduates due to the practical knowledge that they have.

5. Seamless Admission/ Affordable Tuition:

In Nigeria, we have people who have been seeking admission to the university for so many years without success due to the high requirements of universities. Meanwhile, the admission processes for polytechnics are way easier thereby making it easier to get into a polytechnic than a university.

Tuition fees for polytechnics in Nigeria are also affordable, while fees for universities in Nigeria are a bit on the high side. While a student is required to score high marks in JAMB and Post-UTME in order to be admitted into a polytechnic, a potential polytechnic student just needs to score about 10-170 in JAMB to gain admission.

6. Shorter Duration of time of study

An ND Program takes two years to complete plus the Industrial Training Program which makes it three years in total. A student who is done with ND can go ahead and seek employment to support him/herself before deciding to go for the HND program. This is not so for university students, they have to complete the four-year program before seeking employment.

Strikes rarely happen in polytechnics but in Universities, especially federal universities (Except for some that are no longer under ASUU) strikes happen almost every other semester; if ASUU is not going on strike, NASUU will surely go. These strike delay students’ graduation dates, in Nigeria, the recently concluded strike lasted for about seven months which is enough time for a student to complete an academic session.

If a student desires a hitch-free education without unnecessary delays, polytechnics are likely to offer them just that. Polytechnic students also tend to leave for the mandatory NYSC program faster than University students.


The article above has outlined the “Reasons Why a Polytechnic is better than a University”. We have also talked about the roles of universities and polytechnics: Universities deal with the theoretical aspects of a particular discipline and polytechnics deal with the practical aspect of the disciplines they offer.

While universities offer diverse programs, they, however, do not offer practical learning opportunities as they are mostly focused on theory. This feature makes them a less likely go-to for students who are looking for practical development.

Though many people like to think that polytechnics offer lower educational standards than universities, we can categorically argue that it does not; these two institutions play different roles and cater to the needs of students according to their needs.

Having said this, this writer maintains that Polytechnics are better than Universities.