THE SWEEPING belief that attaining university qualification is almost an end in itself is no longer tenable. With all the vast benefits of having high qualifications, ironically, success in life is not solely pegged on acquisition of the coveted qualifications.
If anything, higher qualifications tend to alienate people from the simple things that matter in life. It clogs people with theory that is far removed from the realities of life and implants an elitist attitude leading to a form of cataract towards blue collar jobs that are the way to go in the wake of extreme unemployment rates in the modern world.
Wait a minute. My argument should not be construed to mean that university education and higher qualifications as a whole are gratuitous. They are very necessary and trendy. My point here is that failing to get university qualification is not the end of the road. It is a stop over from whence an alternative flight can be taken to a different destination that can be as gratifying as getting the privilege to stride in the corridors of universities and sitting in the state of the art lecture theatres.
Students who fail to attain the cut off mark to join public and private universities and have the zeal to attain higher qualifications can start with certificate/short courses that normally take one or two years. After the certificate courses, they can then enroll for diploma levels and then eventually get into undergraduate degree level and progress upwards.
A host of the current graduates did not get their degrees directly. Most of them started with either diploma or certificate levels depending on their high school grades and then kept on upgrading their qualifications.
Currently, middle level colleges and universities are offering qualification ranging from certificate level to PhD levels. The fact that education has been liberalised presents you with a variety of choices within and outside the borders.
Another alternative that is not easy to execute but highly lucrative, is trying your hand in business. I am well informed that business is one area that you can easily change your fortunes from charcoal to gold or from gold to charcoal. Here sharp skills, especially in financial knowledge, are indispensable. Perhaps this explains why the government of Rwanda has made entrepreneurship education mandatory. If you feel confident and you have the required capital, just take a safe risk.
The best way to address the issue of low transition rates from high school to university at policy level is to adopt a two pronged education system that identifies and develops both talent and the academic realms.
Students should join school with clear awareness of their interests, talents and academic strengths and weaknesses. This way, more time can be dedicated to channeling student interests, developing talents and building academic strengths while upgrading the areas of weakness.
Upon graduating from high school, students who fail to meet the threshold to join both public and private universities can straight away join sports academies and other institutions that can transform their inherent talents into professions from where they can earn a living.
Innumerable are excellent talents in music, art and sports that are vegetating in drinking dens and other unproductive ventures that are dimming with disillusionment because they are neither recognized nor tapped.
The current system of education where students spend a minimum of 10 hours in class between 6am and 9pm cannot support alternative thinking especially when it comes to focusing of non-academic potentials in students that can be harnessed to sharpen their agility in the increasingly competitive job market.