Why we need to revamp higher education right now

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OFTENTIMES I enter into a monologue. In fact, it is now my second nature to ponder long and hard over my four-year university studentship, wondering if at all it was worthwhile. This thought keeps me awake up to the wee hours. I repeatedly arrive at the conclusion that my university tenure was not worth the bother. There is an alternative route to education I could have pursued.

I am, therefore, convinced that it is about time the convention that university education is the singular route to wisdom and knowledge be challenged.
Given the present dawn of the digital era, I am of the school of thought that all what a basically reasonable person needs are computer literacy and the internet.
An ability to surf the web renders the need for tertiary education to be of secondary importance.
Gone and gone forever, are the days of being crammed like sardines in lecturer halls. It is no longer beneficial to spend hours in libraries and to burn the midnight oil flipping through pages of reading material.
My thoughts are that university education should be the least consideration for embarking on careers. Famous motivational speaker and author, Rick Rigby lends weight to my conviction. He said: “My father has never let his schooling get in the way of his education.”
Rick confirms that many high-profile jobs like software developing, public speaking and politics do not necessarily require one to be a degree holder.
Winston Churchill had himself a revered place in history, but had no degree. However, my position is that the information that is readily available on the web makes university education a mere luxury.
Moreover, university does not impart creativity and ingenuity. Rather, it inculcates conformity, making graduates to be meek and malleable.
Contrarily, the most enduring conviction is that universities actually atrociously conspire to stall students’ natural development by demanding of them to conform to a cast in concrete syllabus.
What I find startling is that in Zimbabwe we have a scenario where same subject contents are done under different name degrees. I have in mind such degree programmes as political science, peace and governance, local governance and public administration which predominantly share the same course content, root, stem and branch, yet are awarded under different names.
Also, some degree programmes such as the one that I obtained, development studies, are vastly broad such that upon graduation, there will be somewhat confusion regarding the specific area to pursue. What further concerns me is that State universities do not have a standard approach to development studies.
At my former university, Great Zimbabwe University, it is taught as an art whereas at Midlands State University it is a social science discipline. I view this disparity as a pointer to the need to challenge university education.
I believe a social science approach is different from an art one. Also, what I found curious about development studies is that its subject areas are extracted from such a diverse discipline as politics, economics, sociology, history, theology and geography. This vast span amounts to the confusion on career choices I mentioned earlier.
However, my argument is that most degree programmes contain information that is now there in the public domain on the internet. With this in mind, my conclusion is that university education can be dispensed with, with no consequences on intellect of society.
However, I am mindful that there are some degrees which are still needful of university education such as medicine and veterinary science, to mention but two.
It is pleasing that the internet hub programme is already underway. Hopefully speedily spreads countrywide so that rural communities will not be deprived of access to the internet.
My conviction is that with the internet, the young will not only receive knowledge, they kill two birds with one stone by simultaneously working while also learning. It offers the youth the opportunity to contribute to development instead of spending time on university studentship.

Rukudzo M Mangoma is a recent graduate with an honours degree in development studies

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