In my village, gaining an opportunity to be enrolled into a public university back in the 90’s made one a golden child. It was a desire of many school going children thus the enthusiasm to work hard became key.
Time lapsed and in this 21st century attaining a university degree has been equatted to having a high school leaving certificate – anyone can acquire one. The deep pocketed topping the list.
Through JAB the poor get an opportunity although its an opportunity with conditions.
The introduction of the parallel degree program and the bridging program, methinks ruined and downgraded university education. As long as you can pay for it, you can acquire a degree. How backward is this?
It has been said that the key to alleviating poverty is empowering the masses with education. While I agree with this, can poverty be alleviated if the education offered is of no quality and of no value? I tend to disgress.
As it is today, those who perform well in high school are taken in through JAB, only to have a limitation of choice when selecting what career to persue. The cluster points concept locks many out of career destinations of their choice yet they possess the qualifications.
The opposite applies to parallel program students who can persue any career of their choice just because they can pay for it.
What are the consequences of the above? Overqualified teachers and underqualified doctors, lawyers and pilots.
In the past, lack of acquiring a degree program meant that one first enrolled for a diploma or a certificate course and thereafter they would slowly but on merit have a slot in university.
Whatever happened to the system? Currently, technical institutes are being given university status to add more useless graduates into the already saturated market. If this trend continues, which institutions will take care of those that cant gain university entry points?
A few years ago, after being interviewed, some blue chip companies said that they prefer diploma students to undergraduate ones. To them, the former are more qualified based on the rigourousness of their training and the merit of their programs. That totally threw me off balance. Why then go through an undergraduate program if you cant secure a job?
For the thirst of these quick funds, universities have sprout everywhere offering mundane concortions in the name of degrees. Most of these are feeding on the growing desire for papers without relevant qualifications. How can a university offer an engineering program without an engineering laboratory?
Simple. It can offer such because just for one semester, a privately sponsored student coughs not less than Ksh 70,000. The thirst for money has underpinned the need for quality.
As a result of this menace, universities continue to produce half baked graduates since the lecturers are always in a hurry to complete a lecture so as to attend another in a private university somewhere else and pocket the cash.
Learned gangsters are in the streets as a result of the above.
The solution to the above: abolish the parallel degree program and strengthen institutions offering diploma and certificate courses so that they can take up this backlog of students. This would mean quality is re-established in our universities and that a degree is not just a degree but a certificate of merit.
These views are possessed by many, check out some comments about a post by Soyinka Lempaa HERE.