Tuesday, 26 May 2015

[Today] Degree inequality should motivate, not deter, us

I refer to the article “As graduate numbers grow, a hard truth: Not all degrees are equal” (May 23). It is vital to re-establish the parameters of a degree.
First, it is a means to an end: Access to certain career paths.
And due to the relative importance accorded to jobs that certain specialised degrees offer access to, there is often a disparity among degrees, as indicated by the mean salary for graduates across jobs.
Yet, degrees cannot be measured simply based on salary. For some individuals, job satisfaction negates the peeve of a salary lower than for other professions. Degrees are measured better in terms of the validity of the skills imparted to a graduate for his or her career path, considering as well any changes in jobs throughout his or her career.
For instance, beyond offering what a solicitor would require, the skills imbibed by law graduates offer access to banking and other domains.
Given the cut-throat competition, however, a degree is not the end of one’s learning nor does it necessarily translate into secure job prospects.
Ultimately, the significance of a degree should not detract from the values of rigour and fortitude many courses aim to ingrain in their students, which are what would enable them to forge on amid unfavourable circumstances.
The debate about degrees should thus be more concerned with how successfully these tenets have been imparted than with the unequal nature of degrees.
As George Orwell wrote in Animal Farm: “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” Inequality should not be a revelation nor an entrenched setback, but rather an added motivation to surmount the odds using the tools we have.