Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Meaning Of A Degree Certification

Last weekend, I met some old friends who talked of the problem of undergrads who 'outsource' their assignments.  They said it was difficult to get these students to understand the importance of doing their own work.  Then we segued into the topic of degrees, universities and rankings.   

I used to wonder why a degree was such a big deal.  Does a period of four (or three) years in an institution really make you a person fit for employment and induction into the officer & managerial ranks?  Can a certificate encapsulate your skills, talents and potential??

But by this 'ripe old age', I have learned what a degree represents to potential employers. 

First of all, that cert testifies to a certain capacity to withstand stress while having the discipline, patience & sheer tenacity to see a course of study to its fruitful end.

Second, it attests to the ability to collect data, analyse the collection of data and distill a year's worth of research &reading into its most concise and benefit-laden form (hopefully!) - the thesis. 

Third, it indicates an ability to work in teams (or better yet, HELM teams) as well as deal with & satisfy the idiosyncrasies of some of the most eccentric people in the world, the academicians.

Such a wonderful package of skills and abilities, eh? MUST go through the course of study inch by mentally-painful inch in order to acquire said abilities.  A true graduate is like gold refined by fire... while graduates who cheated their way through their course have only cheated themselves out of this refining of self.

To people wise in the management of people, such half-baked graduates stand out like a sore blister. In the teaching profession, such half-cooked graduates go on to create other half-cooked versions of themselves. 

Very sad when you think of it :(


fight-oh said...

//The comment form isn't working when I used my google account, so I'm using OpenID to comment. BTW, this is RuYanda :-).//

First of all, I loved reading this!

It's a pity those undergrads 'outsource' their assignments because the feeling of accomplishing something by yourself (or through teamwork) isn't something you can get easily. Maybe I have too much ego (or sth else), but I take pride in projects/assignments I had completed myself/with my team even though if it's not A-worthy. It boosts one's confidence especially when working on future projects/assignments. (gosh. They really don't know what they're missing...)

Although I just recently started my tertiary education (therefore can't say much on this matter), I can somewhat see how a degree can make a difference in life. To attain it is no easy work. Your 3 points made it clear to me.

I'll share something that may (or may not) be related to the 3rd point. I complained much about a group project in university last month to my family members. My problem was with some of my group members attitude. Even though I was the leader of the group, I felt that they think it's right to disrespect me after I made a mistake. I admit that I was at fault but they don't seem want to give me a second chance. They treated me like a fool and don't trust me in doing any work. Well, it's a long story... but I'll cut it short. The incident made me realised how it's hard for a group to work together when each members came from different family backgrounds and places. My mum said it's not uncommon and think it's good that I can experience it early in university. At her workplace (EPU), there are people (university graduates!) like that too. 1st year students are not exactly eccentric academicians (yet), but I've learnt my lessons. I know there's many more to come... so I should learn how to handle such situations in the future.

Well, hopefully I'll turn out as a much better person as my time advances in university. It takes time but it's doable...and I'll keep this article in mind while I'm on the journey.

Roslyn said...

A degree course is definitely doable :)

There will be times you will feel like giving up but take those times as 'refining in fire' and prove to yourself you aren't a quitter!

Perry R. Lim said...

I shudder at the thought of the so-called 'more qualified' teachers going back to school to teach. I've experienced this 'outsourcing culture' first hand when I was tutor at one of our local "with-arms-open-wide-we-welcome-you" universities. Some even went as far as merely copying, VERBATIM, from some other source without any sort of acknowledgment.

And the saddest thing was that the administration, knowing very well that such a culture exists, didn't do anything about it.

I refused to be a part of the culture and never went back, even though the money was quite good.

I guess as long as the people heading such higher learning institutions don't put more efforts on eradicating such blatant plagiarism and cheating, not only will we churn out graduates of sub-standard skills, but also graduates of sub-standard morals.

Now, THAT would be tragic.

MindaGuru said...

Saya setuju dgn pn, sepatutnya degree yang dimuliki itu membawa bersamanya individu2 yang hebat dan terdidik dan serba boleh selepas berjaya mengalami pelbagai latihan, cabaran, penderitaan untuk mendapatkannya.. persoalannya benarkah sedemikian rupa?

Sdr. Perry menyentuh tentang perbuatan menciplak dan mencuri hasil kerja orang lain. Perbuatan ini sebenarnya masih berlaku..malah kita ada mendengar tentang perbuatan membeli sijil Phd pun.Keadaan ini menyebabkan nilai-nilai murni diketepikan hanya untuk mendapatkan segulung ijazah..Perbuatan seperti ini sepatutnya sudah lama dibanteraskan..

salam 1Malaysia

Roslyn said...


Persoalan tentang kebenaran keadaan ini hanya boleh dijawab oleh seseorang untuk diri masing2. Tetapi kalau tidak dibanteras, saya bimbang ketrampilan dan kewibawaan kita orang Malaysia akan terjejas...kerana ini bukan masalah institusi...ini sebenarnya masalah masyarakat kita.

Apa berlaku dalam institusi kita pasti 'tertumpah' ke masyarakat kita.