Why is higher education important?

University of Rwanda students during a previous graduation ceremony. / Net photo.

It is said that “education is the key to success” which is why people go an extra mile to pursue bachelors/masters degrees and PhDs. Of course, a number of people have established mega businesses without even completing high school, but the quickest pathway for many, if not most, people to a rewarding career is going to college and getting a higher education.

Higher education proves to have many benefits, including an ideal career and financial security. Education plays a significant role in one’s life as it increases opportunities and improves the overall quality of life.

 

Prof Theoneste Muhizi, a chemistry lecturer at University of Rwanda, notes that higher education is relevant in developing countries since these countries still need qualified staff in many fields for their development. Staff with university qualification are generally mature enough to be responsible, to make decisions and changes where necessary, and make future plans. 

 

“Particularly for Rwanda where the development is under high speed, university education is needed to speed up different social economic projects elaborated for the interest of the population. University of Rwanda is delivering relevant courses in different fields. For instance, delivered courses are similar with those found in other recognised high learning institutions,” he says. 

 

He further explains that graduates from this university are serving the country in many fields and aptly contributing to its development, like in the fields of science and technology, youth from UR have designed useful software used in our daily activities.

“If gaps are observed, the university reviews the programmes it is delivering. Graduates that have excelled are well accepted and admitted to other universities for Masters and PhD levels. But they can also compete in the job market,” he adds. 

Muhizi says that many collaborators from Europe and America are coming for staff and student exchange programmes, and this is an indication that education in Rwanda is internationally recognised.

Annet Mbabazi, a graduate of Oklahoma Christian University in the US, is of the view that college education is very important because one picks interest in a career, takes courses related to it, gets exposed to research and internships in that particular profession, and also determines whether his or her expectations in that particular career are met by the courses taken, and picks up other interests along the way. 

“However, our universities are more theoretical than practical, if the courses were more hands-on, it would be much better and more rewarding to students,” she says. 

For example, an engineering student is taught mathematics for four years, which is almost what they studied in high school, by the time they begin studying courses of their interest, they shallowly cover them because they are writing their thesis and preparing for graduation. This is the reason as to why university education is good, but educators should look at the applicability and relevance of the courses they administer, Mbabazi adds.

Research indicates that people with some form of higher education earn more money and have a lower probability of unemployment. The regiments of education can instil a person with the discipline required in the professional world. By learning to follow complex instructions and meet strict deadlines, they are better prepared for the rigors of the marketplace.

Today, career options are declining for those who haven’t furthered their education after high school. Many high school graduates who don’t acquire higher learning end up working in the service field with jobs that pay low and don’t offer advancement opportunities. 

However, this isn’t always the case. There are many high school graduates who have become very successful.

University education is an investment that doesn’t just provide one with substantial rewards, but also benefits the hiring company as well.

Researchers state that during higher learning experience, students are equipped with new skills. For example, they are able to listen to lectures and read books that are from top experts in their particular field. This in the end heartens them to think, analyse, explore new ideas, ask questions, and be creative. This allows them to grow and develop even further, providing them with that competitive edge in the job market.

Such learners also expand their skills and knowledge, grasping intellectual theories and concepts, expressing their thoughts clearly in writing and speech, and increasing their understanding of the community and the world.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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