There’s something about putting on that dress and cap, stepping on the catwalk, and receiving your postgraduate degree. Add MSc to your title, call you a man, or remind someone who just called you Mr. that it is actually “Doctor”. You haven’t wasted your years and your hair defending papers just for people to call you “Mister”
For a long time, taking that extra step beyond a bachelor’s degree was considered the preserve of a few. Whether it’s simply because those four years often feel like six, and finally finishing is a significant achievement in and of itself, or because there is more to life than amphitheatres, many young people have tend to view postgraduate studies as a luxury.
The perception of masters and doctoral studies as an elite club has certainly had its appeal to some. Brian Okeja, MSc student in Human Resources Management at MMUST, has always seen it as a path to the top.
“Education is the shield against poverty, the shield against ignorance, the shield against disease and the path to prosperity,” he says.
Adding this, “I have always been inspired to continue my education to get my hands on this golden shield. The process of choosing where to go was guided by my personal ambition and inspiration to be one. of the best human resources managers of my time in my field.
Ernest Murwa had already decided to continue his studies when he was in his third year of university.
“I felt, even then, that I needed to continue my education. Studying comes with a prestigious position in society. I come from a marginalized region, Lamu County, where academic models are rare to find. I wanted to be a face that the students in the area could admire, ”said Murwa.
One of the factors that held back Murwa, besides the sizable tuition fees, was the widely held belief that the Masters is for older people.
“Some of my peers see this as an education level for ‘seniors’ – those over 30 – and sometimes I’m forced to keep the fact that I’m doing a master’s degree to myself because they think I’m doing a master’s degree. signed up for the course too soon after undergraduate studies, ”he says.
In fact, many more young people prefer to take a little break before going back to school. To live a little, maybe sow a few oats here and there, or simply to gain some professional experience before diving back into the books.
“It’s tricky, because there’s always the possibility that you can’t come back to it,” says Purity Andole, who is completing a master’s degree in health sciences.
“I know so many people who took this break, but then life came along and it got too complicated to go back to school. I heard some of them say that they had grown too big for academics, that it would be difficult for them to remember the classroom, and I totally understand, ”she says.
More and more young people are choosing to forgo postgraduate studies altogether. The benefits of having this additional certificate appear to be diminishing, although the acquisition process has become more complicated for many.
“I was on the fence,” says James Maina, who now has a three-year undergraduate degree.
“I’ve been planning to go back for some time now, but I also ran a successful farming business and never really used the only certificate I have, so I didn’t think it was ‘was necessary.
But then, earlier this year, a handful of universities, led by the University of Nairobi, changed their fee requirements and in so doing made a lot of people think for them.
“It’s impractical to spend nearly a million shillings on a piece of paper that might not change my life significantly. Considering the hassle of going online and all that I have to do with it. doing everyday is just not something I can do, ”says Maina.
Another source of concern is the situation on the labor market. The number of unemployed applicants with a postgraduate degree is alarming.
We have primary school teachers with doctorates, matatu operators with masters, and restaurant cooks with accolades in very different fields. An extra year in school may no longer guarantee you the job of your dreams.
Dan Ndolo is a job recruiter and co-founder of Kaya Talent, an agency that connects employers with potential candidates. Academic qualifications are important, Ndolo says, but employers are increasingly looking beyond them.
He said, “Papers are important, yes. Academic qualifications allow applicants to go through the first stages of screening. However, it is important to know that qualifications only get you in, the way you sell your skills and experience accounts for 99.9% of people who receive an offer.
“Creativity and innovation are more important. Have the ability to solve problems and with few resources. A mixture of theory and practical application is most desired, but practical application trumps everything if it comes down to it. Most managers will just want to know how well the candidate can handle the responsibilities in the role.
Life and career coach Jeff Israel Nthiwa believes that education should not be central in life.
“Going back to school should be based on your goals and objectives,” says Nthiwa. “It should meet a need that you have in your life. ”
He advises against going back to school just for fun.
“Education has to support your vision, who you want to be in your life. If you get a new job, for example, that requires a new set of skills, then you would have to go back to school to get them. The perception exists that a master’s or doctorate makes you better, but the point is, your ability has little to do with education.
“There are people who don’t need to go to school. Education doesn’t make you important or meaningful.
“When you look at life and society, the most successful people are not the most educated. They tend to be average in terms of college. Society has conditioned us to think that school is a success.
“In reality, success depends more on who you are as a person, your values, your commitment and your vision. Many successful people even dropped out of school, but they had a vision. Education does not allow us to have an impact unless we have a vision.
Yet the best time to go back is now, he insists. And according to Mr. Ndolo, there is a good way to balance your job application whether or not you have those extra certificates.
“Candidates with fewer papers need to network more and make sure that members of their network know what they are capable of. University applicants need to invest more time getting things done so that they don’t get frustrated when theoretical knowledge doesn’t translate into a practical situation when it comes to it.
It seems, however, that the idea of being treated as a “Doctor” may have lost its luster.