Friday, September 5, 2014

Private Uni Degree: Postponing Disappointment

Far beyond its educational value, the university degree in our Asian society had always confer too much prestige. Over the years, especially in the early days, we had so many under performers who successfully climbed high the corporate ladder just because they were graduates.

The university degree is a sticky idea even when its value has become unstuck unless you graduate from a top college.

People will pay up for status. These days more and more families can afford to send their kids everywhere to get their degrees if they fail to get into our highly ranked local universities. For too many, they are just postponing disappointment. They will face the hard truth once they start looking for a job.

This is a long brutal and costly road to disappointment. The status of the university graduate will fall when many graduates cannot get good high paying jobs. I think everyone knows this by now but the social status of a being a graduate is just too irresistible. At that time passing yourself off as a grad wouldn't be good enough. You must also let on that you went to a good college especially an US Ivy. But at home a good degree from NUS, NTU and SMU is good enough. I hope by then we would have a huge cadre of non grads who are equal to many grads pulling down a good salary. For those who are caught between now and then they have to make the hard choices and I am afraid many will continue to waste time and money on poor quality or quickie degrees. Perhaps we can't avoid becoming laden with a lost generation but at least we are doing much better than most other societies with plentiful unemployed or under employed grads.

The faster we lower the status of graduates and up the status of performers the better. Since we run a good-enough meritocracy, you know like bidding for COEs (unless you need say a top lawyer, doctor or accountant, most times someone good enough will do) we already  have many non grads who can perform like grads. I imagine during this transition between two equally good candidates but one is a non grad, this person would be chosen over the grad (this would be done stealthily of course). Just like in some MNCs now eager to accelerate the promotion of women to the upper rungs are doing the same when choosing between an equally competent woman and man.

It takes courage not to pursue a university degree for status sake. I only wish there are more such types. Better to try to beat the local grad at the workplace. I think many of them can be beaten.


  1. Hopefully the time has come for people to wake up - especially those in HR departments - that paper qualification is nothing better than a texturised toilet paper. It is time they stop tempting make-it-quick career aspirers showing off paper and faking performance. A good work done is not the same as a dressed up job done

  2. I wonder who plays the piper??

  3. I have a diploma in adult education. No degree.
    I have been facilitating adult learning for 4 continuous years.
    But the commercial & Gov sector will not allow me to facilitate courses beyond
    supervisor levels. They insist that I need a degree.

    Yet there are degree holders sitting in my classes designed for supervisory grades.
    The degree is recognised as a must have if you want to instruct managers and higher... without the degree they wont listen to you.

    But if you are a dropout and have attain world acclaim in business...hmmm.

  4. The world has lost its bearings. I have a honours degree (never have the luxury of time and money to pursue all those masters and phds) and spent thirty over years in my career. Yet the tertiary institutions would not allow me to teach because I don't have anything higher than the basic degree (even with a honours attached to it). And yes, all these so called accreditation and "quality-check" authorities are just one big tick-box desk bound morons - no degree, no higher degree, no certification (which comes with money to be paid just to get that shit of a toilet paper), no "quality". All faking kpi morons.

  5. Hi,
    Sorry to trouble you once again; can I ask for your permission to reproduce this post on our education portal ? We shall cite pengyou as the author, and make explicit mention that it first appeared on your website. Hoping to hear from you soon! :)

    PS: In the future, is it all right if we go ahead to reproduce articles from your site without having to consult you every time? We will ensure proper author credentials are cited for all your published posts on our website.

  6. Thank you very much! Can I assume I have your permission to do so for any future posts as well? :)