Do you seek knowledge or academic transcripts?

Graduates pose for a photo. Net photo.

A new calendar was recently released by the Ministry of Education; it was received with mixed reactions, especially from those who are keen about the state of our education.

Education is always challenging to address, it could be because of its magnitude and the role it plays towards nurturing a strong knowledge base, for example, since research condemns individual judgment due to the bias involved.

The new calendar and students’ placement at their different institutions was quite different from past years, with great emphasis on the nine-year basic education and vocational institutes.

To some people, this could result in a generation of less qualified workforces, hence, depriving the country of a competitive human resource base. Well, much as each individual’s observation is highly significant in its own context, a deep-seated analysis and a comparative eye would light up the sight of our blinded academicians and so-called intellectuals.

This is a margin way of looking at things, it could be the reason why unemployment is still dominant in many developing countries—many degree holders are unable to write their own CV and can hardly define a basic concept.

A few years ago, I got my first degree, it was actually in education. I wish someone could ask me if I was actually ready to be a teacher at the time. Out of the 230 students in my history class, only 95 proceeded with their teaching profession, others are in entrepreneurship, those fortunate to have chunks of land are into agriculture, and some became housewives.

I remember an incident in the newsroom when an editor questioned if I had even ever gone to school, not knowing that my name had just been read among the few first-class degree holders in Makerere University. That question got to me, but I later realised that he was right, and actually good at his job. He pursued ‘knowledge’ in what he loved; he gave it time and learnt more about it. 

You want a degree in economics; do you really love the course, are you passionate about it, or you are just looking for a degree?

Today a degree is portrayed as a compulsory step in life; therefore, many individuals go to college with little thought on the significance of why they are there. 

Many are pressured to get these degrees—degrees they cannot really justify, hence wasting resources and time that would be used for other significant engagements towards community development.

When a degree is perceived to be a “necessity”, most individuals don’t think about the essence of why they are there. Many students graduate with insufficient to no valuable skills necessary for the job market, and given the nature of our education system, and the size of our economy, many are unable to create employment.

To address this, therefore, educationists must understand that a degree does not necessarily translate into competence or knowledge that is just a paper of crammed concepts. Knowledge surpasses the degree, it entails passion, skill, and creativity, among others. It should be noted that in developed economies such as Finland, German, The Netherlands, and Norway, vocational institutes are producing more skilled personnel than higher education institutions, and actually, many degree holders earn less or the equivalent to a certificate holder from a vocational training institute in a similar programme.

The writer is a PhD student at Beijing Normal University

Pontiankbr@outlook.com

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