Gone are the days when higher education was a preserve for the so called top cream. Being in a higher institution of learning was once seen as a privilege. In the early 90s in Rwanda, earning a degree certificate was next to impossible because it was a very exclusive opportunity for a selected few who had to beat a myriad of odds to get highly coveted slots at the prestigious National University of Rwanda.
Because of the high demands in the labour market and the occasioned shortage of human resource to spur economic growth, education was liberalised. While enhanced supply of qualified human resource has played a big role in the development of world economies, it has not come without unnecessary evils.
The almost uncontrolled expansion of education institutions has greatly compromised standards and given birth to half baked graduates. Many institutions of higher learning which, ironically, have been accredited, do not meet the expected minimum standards of accreditation.
Some colleges claim to be offering courses in collaboration with certain universities in the developed world to attract students. Most of these collaborations are neither well crafted nor harmonised. Worse still, other collaborations are marketing gimmicks.
Some entrepreneurs have been frequenting foreign capitals, especially in Europe, where they register professional associations especially in marketing, ICT and law. They then form collaborations with tertiary institutions and purport to offer masters degree courses in business studies on behalf of these bodies.
Strict control measures are needed to help many thirsting higher education seekers from being duped and hoodwinked into pursuing suspect academic qualifications. University academic staff should also be thoroughly vetted to ensure that instructors have genuine qualifications from fully accredited higher education institutions.
I have no qualms in saying that there is a gargantuan number of employed and job seeking persons who are going around thumping their chests with fake papers. All these should be shown the door or asked to go to school properly.
I know a university ‘doctor’ in an East African university who was stripped of his PhD when the university management discovered that he earned it through a suspect online programme from a little known and unaccredited university.
Let standards be held up as we reap from the benefits of our liberalised economies and education system.