OpEd, Politics

Paper Qualification without Knowledge, Skills is Worthless

By Joseph Akim Gordon

Education and training are keys to life; they widen your environment so you can interact with many different people, be they intellectuals, highly placed personalities, religious dignitaries, and others. Education has given you the courage and ability to exchange information and knowledge with courage, which is why parents are encouraged to educate their children, male and female.

Education will open your horizons; you will have the capacity to interact with foreigners and others. Education is dynamic; it is a continuous process for those who are about to or have graduated from universities. This is not the end of education; it is only death that can stop you from pursuing education and training. Even people with Ph. D.s still pursue education to increase their knowledge of education and training and to do more in their subject matter.

However, the educational authorities should do more to increase the quality of education. It has been observed that joining university studies has corrupted even those who have not completed senior secondary school or those who failed in secondary school. You find that they join university studies and perform poorly in the universities. Some of these students have rich backgrounds and will corrupt their ways throughout their university studies and be awarded a university grade, but without knowledge and skills, the student is just interested in a paper qualification and hangs on the wall proud to have completed university studies.

In a situation where the teachers are poorly paid and easily bribed, this is not only confined to South Sudan; my daughter was a victim at one of the universities in Uganda.

My daughter did the final exams; the examination papers were returned to the students, so in one of the papers, my daughter obtained 70%, but on the transcript, the lecturer recorded 50%. Not only my daughter alone, but other girls experienced the same thing. To get the right marks on the transcript, you either pay the lecturer or you agree to go to a hotel to have sex to get the right marks that will be recorded in your transcript.

Other girls accepted to pay extra money or to have sex, but my girl refused and phoned me and gave me the phone number of the lecturer. I phoned the lecturer to explain to me what happened: my daughter’s marks were reduced to 50%, not until he was paid money or accepted a sexual relationship. He categorically denied that he ever demanded a bribe.

But the issue of recording a lower grade was a mistake, and he will correct this mistake. The lecturer became angry with my daughter for accusing him of stealing from me. As the process to correct this corruption case is long, it will require me to go to Uganda and present the case to the university administration. It is too expensive and time-consuming, so the lower grade was recorded in my daughter’s transcript.

Education is corrupted so much that you can pay for a transcript with a high grade; you can even buy a university degree with whatever grade and subject matter you want. That is why we have pharmacies in South Sudan selling fake drugs. When you go for medical prescriptions, they often prescribe drugs for malaria and typhoid, which are the most common prescriptions in some of pharmacies.

The occupants are not qualified people in medical schools, but they come to make money since there is no scrutiny of their qualifications. In some advanced countries, when a patient dies at the hands of a medical doctor, there will be a thorough investigation into the patient’s death. If it is established that it was due to the wrong prescription or wrong administration of the medication, the doctor will have his license suspended or revoked and will not be allowed to work in a health establishment. This has made doctors and medical professionals work in accordance with medical ethics.

It was reported last month that three secondary schools in South Sudan attempted to cheat school leaving examinations. They stopped the examination supervisors and invigilators violently so that they could cheat, and as a result, the three secondary schools were suspended. This was a good measure to stop corruption in education.

Another malpractice in education, particularly when a student absents himself or herself, is that a student who attends his or her class less than 75% of the time in a semester must not be allowed to sit for the examination. If a student fails three subjects, he or she must do supplementary exams, but if a student fails more than four subjects or more, he or she must be made to repeat or be dismissed from the university.

The problem with graduating students prematurely is that they get a paper qualification but not the knowledge or skills; this lowers the reputation of the university. Another challenge is that, upon graduation, some graduates with good connections get a job at the ministry headquarters without field experience.

So, at the ministry headquarters, because he or she is not well qualified, it is difficult to render services. Even writing a report is difficult. In many cases, people of that type are always arrogant, angry with a slight provocation, and try to avoid other colleagues as much as possible because they do not want to expose their ignorance of the subject matter. They are afraid to learn because they fear exposing their ignorance.

To maintain the standard of universities and other institutions of learning, the administration must adhere to the University standard guidelines. We must admit students to the universities with the right cadre because the graduating students will be exposed to different professions; you will have those who go for medical, engineering, teaching, law, and other professions and are not capable of delivering efficiently and effectively. If the universities adhere to their norms and values, they will continue to graduate capable cadres.

We have people who are eager to hold big titles. Somebody without proper education will call themselves a doctor or professor without any educational qualification. Some might have fake qualifications, but they will be respected and honored as highly qualified cadres.

For instance, to address the late President Idi Amin of Uganda, you must learn how to address him. To be addressed as Dr. Idi Amin, general, conqueror of the British Empire, and president for life, if you intend to meet or write to him, all the titles must be mentioned. Many other leaders in Africa, like the late President Chad Bokassa, prefer these long titles.

The author can be reached by e-mail: akimgordon222@gmail.com


Comments are closed.