Table of Contents
Acquisition of skills
The way forward
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From time immemorial Universities have become the centers of excellence throughout the world. Many students continue to stream to universities for both undergraduate and post graduate courses which serve as a foundation on which success in life is based.
The fact that universities are important cannot be overemphasized. However is acquiring skills more important than getting good grades or is the reverse true? Some argue that acquisition of various skills is important while some believe that of most importance is scoring impressive grades.
Bandna (2005) observed that university education is normally assessed at various stages through examinations that students are expected to sit and pass upon which due certification is done.
Grades that students score indicate their ability to grasp the content presented before hand and therefore can serve as a measure of proficiency particularly in the area of theory. Proponents of importance of good grades hold that grades are indicative as they serve as a rating scale which potential employers for instance rely on in order to access those with the highest proficiency in a particular field.
In addition to this, getting good grades is important as it enables a student to further studies. It is a benchmark upon which faculties in which the students express a desire to engage in further studies rely in the process of screening those that are best suited to take up the challenge (Clark, 2001)
It can also be argued that acquisition of good grades at the university enhances setting of targets and goals for the student. In the absence of grades, it would rather be difficult to aim high since feedback in terms of levels of achievement would be non existent. Therefore it can be argued here that grades play a significant role in evaluating university education. Getting good grades indicate achievement of educational goals for the individual student.
Acquisition of skills
In as much as getting good grades at the university is important; could acquisition of skills be more important? University education is aimed at imparting relevant and crucial skills to students, skills that ultimately enable the student to perform such activities and duties as may be prescribed in a working environment or any other situation in life.
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As opposed to good grades which indicate a high level of performance mostly in exams and projects, skills indicate mastery or competence of the student in a certain field. Acquisition of skills is particularly important in areas of study that require specific knowledge in terms of doing things practically.
IT and medicine are two areas for instance that require students to go farther than getting good grades and actually indulge in practical aspects of the respective fields. In so doing, such students gain insights in practical aspects of whatever they learn in class. Therefore getting skills is important as the practice in the field is basically practical and relies to a great extent on the ability of the learner to put in to practice skills learnt.
Secondly, getting skills puts one ahead of others in a competitive environment. Universities impart necessary skills which enable graduates survive in job environment.
Apart from practical skills that are based on practical aspects of careers, universities impart leadership, communication, negotiation, study and interpersonal skills which play a lead role in the life of a graduate in and out of work environment. In short, skills acquired at the university are life time skills. It is the view of Clemmer (2010) that such social and emotional competences are extremely vital for success in many jobs.
Crouch, Finegold and Sako (1999) added that Universities partly play the role of vocational institutions whereby students are trained to acquire certain skills that enable them achieve results in a job setting.
The way forward
It can be seen here that acquisition of both grades and skills is important as far university education is concerned. While grades indicate how much one has grasped concepts taught and can be useful in displaying proficiency, skills acquired enable the graduate to perform duties that the education prepares him or her for.
Probably it can be considered that skills transcend the act of acquiring good grades in that those that score good grades are expected to display a high level of competence in execution of tasks and responsibilities that university education prepares them for. Both are therefore indispensable and shall continue to be important aspects of university education both at undergraduate and post graduate levels
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Bandna, Attri. Importance of University Education. New Delhi: Transaction, 2005.
Clark, Edison. Universities Today and in the Future. Education Quarterly, 20 (1) 25-30
Clemmer, Jim. ”Soft Skills and Hard Results” 2010. Clemmer group website. 22, March 2010
Crouch, C. Finegold, D. & Sako, M. Are Skills The Answers? The Political Economy of Skill Creation in Advanced Industrial Countries. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 1999.