Beyond degrees and skills : My younger brother - a computer science graduate - thinks that four years of university contributed little to his skill development and more to anxiety due to academic bullying by instructors and administration.

So, he learned new skills through online courses and is a successful freelancer now.

The youngster is not alone who overweighs skills over degrees; tens and hundreds of social media influencers and entrepreneurs preach the same. Resultantly, there is an inclination of youth towards skill development and starting their own businesses. 

While both degrees and skills are essential, there is another critical aspect that has been ignored in the debate of degrees versus skills.

Syed Babar Ali [SBA] - the founder of LUMS and famous businessman and philanthropist - is the founder and member of the board of directors of several international companies.

In every meeting with the faculty, he emphasizes one thing only - the students character.

SBA says that during hiring, he doesn't care about the interviewee's grades, university, or skills, but if one is honest, truthful and trustworthy, I couldn't remember a single meeting where he didn't suggest focusing on the students' personal grooming and character building.

SBA even suggests training students so they don't cheat even without invigilation during the examination.

I have tried it several times, and the results are pretty encouraging. In a recent course I taught, I took an honour pledge from the students to not use any unfair means in any type of exam. Simultaneously, I had prepared myself to find if the students cheated despite the pledge.

To my surprise, over 99% didn't cheat.

Cheating in the exams is one of the perks of online teaching for which limited workable solutions are available. But placing trust in the students and testing them on moral grounds was quite successful and rewarding.

I have observed university students leaving trash unattended after finishing their food, even when the nearby bin was at an arm's length. Not giving way to others and not apologizing after accidentally hitting someone in a crowded place. Smoking in undesignated area.

These observations force me to think about why the most educated class of adults merely merely observe social norms or etiquettes.

The World Students Society thanks author Assistant Professor Muhammed Zaheer.


Post a Comment

Grace A Comment!