Loving parents make serious sacrifices sponsoring their children’s education from pre-school through nursery and primary school; junior secondary school through senior secondary; secondary school to the higher institution. In an attempt to become competitive equals with their mates, however, some children opt to proceed from the polytechnic to further their studies in the university and much to the delight of their parents. Interestingly, after such arduous journey of twenty-something years of a person’s life, the journey to attaining formal education hardly ends at this threshold.
In recent years, parents whose children do not further their education to master’s degree level are viewed by some faction of the society as either unloving or out of touch with reality. Little wonder, some parents would not mind sending their children to earn master’s degree on their meager pension. Sad as this may be, we do not apportion much of the blame to such parents; they only dance to the mischievous tune their larger society plays. In fact, there is absolutely nothing wrong with earning a master’s degree, except when it becomes the end itself and not a means to an end. Unfortunately, many people today only want to have master’s degree so that at job interviews, they would have a competitive edge. What often follows such decorated ignorance is untold disillusionment for both parents and their children during years of unemployment cum employability.
Unemployment is an epidemic that defies the pursuit of frivolous degrees as it cure. More educational qualifications could in actual fact render job candidates over-qualified for small companies ready to fix them in. Such organizations would choose to employ young candidates with practical skills and expertise in the particular area of need over masters’ degree holder without such useful skills. This trend is understandable; soft skill is the new master’s degree and you are either skilled or screwed up. One of the cures of unemployment is to be employed by one’s self and not depend on a master’s degree or any degree whatsoever to perform miracles.
Some may think that furthering one’s education is indeed mandatory if one would get to any relevant positon in life. Yes, it is our desire all to become best in whatever we do and furthering one’s education is not condemnable. But there are countless successful people world over who did not become successful become they were master’s degree holder or more. These are people who saw the hidden treasures in self-development; they knew what they needed to do to become whom they wanted and went for it. These ones have invested in themselves, not necessarily through bagging degrees and ‘shelving certificates’, but through hard work in the careers of their choice, through passion and dedication, through intentional travels, through reading pages of books in print and other formats; through being in the right company of people and networking effectively, through endless trainings and conferences and through preparation for future opportunities.
In conclusion, apart from intending to carve a career path in the academia, we cannot not really trust a master’s degree to do us so much good as it stands today. A master’s degree will not necessarily increase our chances of getting choice jobs; it will not make us better than the high-school leaver who’s developed himself so well; it does not automatically put food on our table and it does not make us the most intelligent person in the room. The western world that introduced formal education to us have shifted their focus from insistence on acquiring degrees to acquiring of useful skills and so why should we be here insisting on a master’s degree?