Monday, August 04, 2008

Cold frozen Degrees

There is nothing so deterring in life as correcting mind numbing, mind destroying substandard examination papers. WHY do students, who know perfectly well that they know nothing sit for an exam? Why do they waste our time? Why do students who know they cannot string sentences together, insist on stringing a motley collection of words in order drive us insane? Why do students waste their money in registering for courses they can never pass and never complete?

What a mystery! Some say fondly that it is perseverance and determination. Some say it is commitment to hard work. Some say it is ambition. Maybe.

But maybe it is just foolishness - the determination to leap on the bandwagon of degree acquiring, in order to be a graduate. Maybe it is just a myopic view of the future that indicates that THIS ineffective step is what paves the way to a bright future. What happened to the dignity of work - the recognition of different skills, the value given to all honestly done jobs, the respect due to people who excel in the area they choose - be it cooking, gardening, teaching, writing research papers, cleaning the house, sewing clothes, presenting a paper. Surely we have lost something in this world in terms of the wholeness of life, when some undefinable demon propels young people down a degree path with the desire for 'success'.

I have met graduates working as clerks in government offices. Graduates who have done a special degree - honours course in subjects like Politics, Physics, Sociology and many others. Some of them even possess a 2.1 class. And yet they are doomed to sit at desks. I use the word 'doomed' because they are now dissatisfied workers, frustrated at getting no where, aware that the degree gave them nothing better than an O/L qualification might have. Many of them might have been excellent craftsmen, wonderful farmers, great carpenters, skilled tailors...the list is endless.

But they sit here, these young qualified graduates, intelligent, fine young people. They sit behind desks in dingy offices, carrying around large books, remembering dreams they once had of a 'successful' career. They own memories of a univerrsity degree course that they did with much hope, a pittance of salary in their pockets and wish they had made another choice.


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