How to choose a university

How to choose a university. For most young people reaching the tertiary level of education in Africa is both a prestige and an achievement. It is a prestige because there are more students than universities.  Or better put it this way, only a few young people get selected into higher learning institutions. It is an achievement because the tertiary level of education is the most highest in the education system in most countries of the world.


Most University students are simply happy on becoming university students. Many of us including you do not ask ourselves why we have joined the University that we find ourselves in. Ask yourself, have you ever asked yourself that important question. What is the task of a University? Here is what Universities are for in the world:


Universities are the power houses expected to empower young people with skills. Universities should offer skills depending on the needs of young people and not much as we witness in many institutions students simply studying what is offered; few students study what is of their interest otherwise they only take what is offered. The acquired knowledge is normally diverse from medicine to engineering, philosophy, sociology, languages, history, commerce, law, architecture, and much more, however the discipline should be accompanied with necessary soft skills such as independent thinking, critical thinking, financial education, decision making and more is needed to help students exploit their talents, passions so that they work well in their future work and carriers and thus live a fulfilled life. To succeed in offering such skills to students, universities have a number of tasks to carry out:


1. Quality Teaching and Learning
Universities play a great role in the formation of their graduates. The formation of graduates is supposed to be holistic so that a graduate balances in all spheres; declaring interest I myself am a dualist; we of gorural take a human person as a single being, however composed of body and soul. The two parts have their needs which need to be met so as to have a balanced human person. Providing too much to the needs of the body will lead into consumerism syndrome where as providing too much to the soul will lead to fundamentalism, and hence the necessity of a balanced formation of graduates.


Preparing competent graduates holistically requires a number of ingredients/ attributes. Studies revealed that good teaching and learning quality in the degree programs is the major factor facilitating graduates’ employability. This factor should be complemented with important skills including soft skills such as trustworthiness, perseverance, honesty, and hard work. Moreover, pragmatic skills such as problem solving skills, decision making skills, written and oral communication skills are as well essential for their success. Currently in many sub Saharan African Universities, there is poor learning environment for students and thus there is need of improving the infrastructure of the universities, enabling staff on on-going training and structures that facilitate students’ teaching and learning.


In the past when university studies were a privilege of a few nobilities much learning for the rest of the population was through apprenticeship; one would work with the master in his laboratory, workshop or any other kind of office normally for a number of years at times up to seven years. The apprentice worked hard enough to acquire the desired carrier for his life would depend on the same. After that amount of time one was considered competent in that field.


2. Multiple Learning Experiences
When university studies were a privilege of a few nobilities much learning was through apprenticeship as mentioned above; one would work with the master in his laboratory, workshop normally for a period of up to seven years. After that amount of time one was considered competent in that field. A learner would observe carefully what his master was doing; he would learn by doing what the master was doing and he asked the master to assist in some workshop works.


Michael Faraday (1791-1867) serves as a good example of an individual who excelled in the field of electromagnetism through apprenticeship. Though he was brought up in poverty he refused to remain in that situation – he worked hard to discover his talents through extra ordinary love of reading books, in the books he found his passion and interest in science and started following the lectures in science of his future master, Humphry Davy. He went on to learn from and through his master Humphry Davy. He persevered so much by observing what his master was doing, did more than what Davy asked him to do, he got the opportunity as well of being exposed through the work of his master. The climax was when he got the opportunity to work as a laboratory assistant to Davy at the Royal Institution. He worked so hard up to the point when he was able to discover what became his strength and contribution to the world, and the rest in now history (Green, 2012).


A study in South Africa has revealed that field work experience, which is a practical part of what students learn in classrooms, complemented greatly what students learn in classrooms, and it greatly influenced chances for graduates to secure a decent job. Job advertisements in several African countries demand for work experience of several years. This means fresh graduates cannot qualify for the job opportunities. This puzzle of work experience could be solved successfully by graduates themselves and their respective Universities.

When they are still at campus students should engage themselves on acquiring the working and learning experience through volunteering in the offices, workshops, firms, industries related with their study discipline. Moreover, they can get involved in some kind of community service which will provide for them the learning and working experience too. Universities need to incorporate field work in all their programs so as to provide another learning platform for students. Universities should encourage students to continue with volunteering and rendering of service in the community. Experience shows that students who carry out seriously the practical part of their studies get to know the community and master the discipline they are acquiring better than those who don’t do that and so stand a great chance to secure decent employment opportunities.

To get more on such issues make sure that you grab your copy of : “How To Think As University Student”

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