Go to the street and pick anyone at random and pose this question; where do you see yourself in the next 5 years? There is a 99.99% chance of getting responses like I would be having a well paying job; I will be having a master’s degree or a PhD.
What does this imply? It implies that you have to get the maximum possible qualifications to get a competitive job.
Our goals and dreams also can be a source of social problems such as depletion of scarce resources and frustration. Social strife across the globe is closely intertwined with the soaring numbers of unemployed graduates as a result of global economic down turn. This is the sole cause of the diploma disease.
Diploma disease, is a term developed by Ronald Dore as part of a critique of the excessive reliance on the selection process in formal educational institutions (and hence on educational qualifications) as evidence of ability, training, and merit for entry to particular occupations, careers, or internal labour-markets.
This phenomenon is sometimes referred to as credential inflation. As an unintended consequence of the belief that educational certificates are the key to obtaining the best-paid and most secure jobs, individuals may come to strive for constantly higher credentials in order to procure jobs which previously did not demand these, and for which their education does not in any case prepare them. Education thereby becomes merely a ritualistic process of accumulating qualifications.
As many graduates continue to be given the power to do all that pertains to their degrees, they have to contend with the reality that their qualifications are either too low for certain job openings or they lack the required entry experience. As a result, they opt to stay in school to get greater qualifications to make them more competitive as they wait out the economic storm.
At the end of the day, stacks of certificates will not solve any problem. Employers keep on shifting goal posts. Each dawn comes with new job demands.
The result is devastating. People will get more and more certificates and end up keeping them on the shelves to serve as memorabilia of their lost time and dumped money in pursuit of classless credentials.
Perhaps this is the time to revolutionalize the entrepreneurship curriculum and teaching in schools and colleges. Maybe, the teaching should be wild and unconventional. I mean different because the traditional means have not yielded much.
Maybe President Paul Kagame’s call for Rwandans to be job creators rather than job seekers should be printed on billboards and be read to all passersby. Certificates will soon be papers or not worth the papers they are written on.
This should not be misconstrued to mean that getting qualifications is useless. It is paramount. All of us have them. However, these academic credentials should not be viewed as an end but rather a means to an end.
Schools and colleges are creaking at the seams with swelling enrolments. It will be a delusion to imagine that all the graduates will land on white or blue collar jobs just like that.