Is a degree that valuable

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By HILLARY KOSGEI

The most sought-after degrees in the land are BCom and MBA. Many KSCE finalists who miss on Science courses end up doing BCom. And many Universities have done everything humanly possible to ensure the high demand for a degree is met while at the same time making good money. There is talk that Universities are making astronomical profits out of offering degree programs.

A BCom Undergraduate degree is now being offered in almost any University within the borders of Kenya––both Private and Public. In fact, Public Universities have set up satellite campuses in little towns to enable degree-hungry Kenyans quench their thirst.

It seems having a degree is as essential as dressing – so natural and commonplace with employers demanding at least a degree in casual, simple office jobs. Junior employees feel the threat of being replaced by degree holders hence they have rushed for evening classes.

It is good Kenyans want to go to school but it seems these Business schools don’t produce anybody more than a certificate-totting individual.

Maybe the institutions are not to blame; after all they provide the facilities like a library and computer laboratory. The one area where the instructors fail knowledge-seeking Kenyans is in the teaching of ethics and imparting technical, entrepreneurial and social skills. All these are given little attention.

However, it is the students who don’t make use of these resources: most only go to the computer laboratory to ‘facebook’ and exchange emails or watch videos, and visit the library occasionally to read the newspapers or rummage through their books when exams near.
 
All the time on campus is wasted on chit-chat, listening to deafening music till 5am and drinking/partying–there’s even speed-dating on campus (I don’t know the meaning). Some people have compared campus life with the life at the Big Brother house, the only difference being the absence of cameras.
 
Who can tell me knowledge and intellect is gained in two weeks to the exams? But surprisingly, these folks who only do intensive study for short periods fare well in exams. Others end up cheating in exams – remember the recent story of bureaus doing MBA projects for students?  Same thing happens for Undergraduate students who even exchange answer booklets during exam when invigilators are lax. The module II program (BCom) takes 2 ½ years while the normal program takes four. This does not go well with some regular program students who feel that their degree will be devalued.

It is not only in Kenya that this sorry state exists. Even in the US, the authorities are rethinking the role of Business schools, what should be thought and how should it be thought in the wake of the economic crisis. It is argued that type A students compete much with each other and end up getting good grades without LEARNING and so a degree, like any paper qualification, is not a success factor.

Kenyans, what do you think about this and the education system in general?
 

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