The Nigerian Polytechnic Education System

From Universities to Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, Nigeria has a broad range of tertiary academic institutions. However, in addition to theoretical knowledge, the Nigerian Polytechnic Education System is one of the few institutions that equips its students with the technical know-how required to hit the ground running in many practical-based careers. 

With over 30 accredited schools, Nigerian Polytechnics are responsible for a significant percentage of entrepreneurial and technological innovations that ultimately contribute to the country’s economic development. 

Let us now look at the certificates awarded by Polytechnics, the criteria for admissions, and the benefits of the Nigerian Polytechnic Education System.

Polytechnic Admission Requirements

Nigerian Polytechnics award students with Ordinary National Diploma (OND) or Higher National Diploma (HND) on completing a course.


An Ordinary National Diploma is issued after a Senior Secondary Certificate Examination (SSCE) or Pre-ND student completes a two-year program in a Polytechnic. An OND can then be used to apply for an HND course or gain admission into a university’s second or third year via JAMB Direct Entry. An OND can also be used to apply for some blue-collar jobs. 

See From Poly To Uni – How To Get a BSc with an OND

The standard admission criteria for an OND is a minimum of five credits in SSCE, with English Language and Mathematics as compulsory subjects, and three other subjects related to the course being applied for in not more than two sittings, then a minimum of 120 in the Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME). Some Polytechnics additionally organize Post-UTME screening, which takes place in the school. 


A Higher National Diploma is issued after an OND student completes a minimum of one year of Industrial Training and an additional two-year program in a Polytechnic. An HND can then be used to apply for a Post-Graduate Diploma or professional job. Polytechnic graduates can also use their HND certificate to enroll in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Scheme.

The standard admission criteria for an HND are purchasing the HND application form issued by the Polytechnic and participating in the school’s in-house admission screening. Only students with OND certificates from accredited Polytechnics and a transcript from their previous institution (for candidates changing schools) are considered for HND admissions. 

Polytechnics have a minimum grade requirement of no less than a Lower Credit or a Pass with over two years of work experience in a career related to the intended course of study. 

Merits of the Nigerian Polytechnic Education System 

Polytechnics encourage applied learning as its courses have strong practical foundations. This education system understands that students learn the best when theory is combined with hands-on practicals. This learning method gives students a head-start in their chosen career path when they eventually join the workforce.  

The main objective of the Polytechnic Education System in Nigeria is to promote technical education and training. It also plays an important role in developing human resources by nurturing a skilled workforce and improving industrial productivity.

Check out the Difference Between  Universities  and Polytechnics 

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O. Jasmine-Jade

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