Education is a basic need and its wave is unstoppable while its appetite is insatiable. Somehow, it appears fashionable to be in school, especially, in university.
The talk in town is all about how, “I am completing my Master’s in Business Administration or I am in the third or fourth year of my Bachelors in Business Information Technology.” Leave the technology wave aside for another day. Let us focus on the two popular programmes of study at university; full time day programme and the weekend programme.
Students pursuing degree programs on the full time day programme normally study for an average of five hours a day from Monday to Friday. The rest of the day/time is left for research and consultations. Those on weekend programs normally study for about nine consecutive hours a day with only an hour at 1pm for lunch break.
In total, a full time student studies for about 300 hours while the part time one does about 216 hours in a semester of 12 lecture weeks. The difference in terms of the contact hours is stark.
Another question that one may ask is whether the graduates on the two programs are of the same quality and calibre considering the probable difference in the input that they have.
One may argue that a lecturer gives only 30 per cent and the student gets 70 per cent. Well. Good. That is the spirit and the letter of teaching but it has never worked or it completely failed if it ever started.
With the ever growing demand for higher education for better job prospects and promotions at work places universities have done very well in coming up with study programs tailored for various needs and schedules of different prospective students. But this has not improved standards.
It appears universities are on a money minting spree. Enrolments can be done any time of the year when there are students, which is in line with the demand and supply dictates of the market (thinking business is necessary in any organisation) but the insidious effects of the move are being ignored or swept under the carpet.
Arguably, the full time programmes remain superior in terms of quality and implementation because they always have the luxury of time. Lectures, researches, presentations and practicals are done as scheduled and attention is given to detail. On the other hand, weekend programmes are characterised by mechanical dictation and memorization of notes for examination purposes.
In future, employers may have to find other means of assessing job suitability other than prospective employers having excellent transcripts with first class honours. They will have to come up with tools to measure the aptitude and acumen of the potential employees because sooner than later, everybody will have a degree alongside a mobile phone. The stakes have to be higher.