This Week in The Khuta – The heretic merit system of dead paper
As Johnnie waddled along to the front of the well-decorated high school podium, his heart skipped a beat with the exciting notion of receiving his academic certificate for achieving 11th position in his grade. He like many believed that it was this piece of paper in conjunction with the several other certificates of participation from other rudimentary activities, that would earn him the opportunity to study at a higher tertiary institution and eventually work for a big conglomerate which would satiate his pockets with dollar bills and lavish his income with numerous employment benefits.
The plethora of the certificates that lie gathering dust at the corner of your room can be assured to get you an interview and at best a job. Unfortunately, everything else relies on the unquantifiable skills you have gathered over the years. In fact, your personal demeanour is possibly your best marketing strategy as you brave into society. The accolades we acquire at different levels of our education system should indicate our desire to learn and possibly work.They should not in any way give us a false hope that we will ease into the job market where missed deadlines translate to losses in company profits or worse your retrenchment as opposed to a disgruntled teacher who threatens to call your mummy or to fail you for a particular subject.
It is troubling to note that after extensive studies and an array of credentials it is often the menial tasks that are initially demanded by the employer. Nothing seemingly out of the ordinary yet the encumbering pressure is not for the faint at heart. The disconnect arises with the current student mentality that what is taught in the classroom will magically translate to what is needed in the corporate world. They are not ready to think but are more than eager to spew out theoretical knowledge.
We need to realise that success in our industries and in our economy lies heavily on adaptability and unfortunately those certificates are not handed out at our local secondary or tertiary institution award ceremonies. We all need praise for the exemplary consistent work we have done but chasing credentials should be done in tandem with work that will actually contribute to society. Work which changes in nature constantly yet remains pedantic at its roots. Society is seldom interested in what one has accomplished but rather what one can offer at a particular instant given certain resources. It will not measure you based on your apparent documented worth but rather on your current indispensable efforts. If we do not cater to this need we will be left with students who graduate with all forms of accolades but very little knowledge of the ins and outs of society.
As a society, we need to redouble our efforts of integrating the corporate world with educational institutions. This way, we can educate all concerning the brutal nature of society which demands our corporate efforts not to seek recognition but to seek a daily commitment to the mundane. Echoing in the minds of our young learners should be the thoughts that the proverbial “dream job” encompasses more than just a hefty salary. It incorporates a dire need for one to wake up each day and do it all over again with the pleasure of knowing that a difference is being made in society.