re-inventing higher education – rationalize the duration of programs

an undergraduate program in commerce takes at least 3 years, for engineering degree, one has to give at least 4 years and so on. whenever we talk of reforming education, the debate revolves around making education more skill-oriented and advanced in view of the prevailing industrial landscape. do we ever deliberate over re-thinking the duration of programs? no because we are now used to think that an undergrad degree needs a minimum 3 years commitment.

but ask yourself. being a degree holder in some discipline you too have spent at least 3 years in learning the advanced aspects of some domain, say law, commerce or engineering. but what if the institution ran only a 1-year specialized program instead of 3 years, the successful completion of which would have secured you the degree? isn’t the argument sustainable?

the rationale here is access to information has evolved in past few years. today, learners do not have to rely on classroom sessions for quarter of the day to gain insight into topics related to their stream of studies. e-books are available on almost every subject and topics within, video lectures too are easily accessible (and where not, can be made) and all this is being complimented by resources like Wikipedia.

it can be accepted that since learning in a society that wasn’t as digitized and open as it is today was connected with a daily walk down to college and attending of lectures. this was the reason why programs as easy as a commerce undergrad degree were accorded a minimum 3-year duration.

another argument is if the authorities do believe that an individual who has acquired a degree in some discipline is skilled enough, the widespread culture of corruption in higher education and the useless topics covered have to be taken note of. a high percentage of college pass-outs stand nowhere near acceptable standards for real world scenarios hence are useless in the job market.

and it is the workplace where graduates learn real lessons on skills and their applications.

why then confine learners to a college setup for as long as 3 years when the same task of certifying the individual as a knowledgeable person on the respective discipline can be achieved in just 1 year?

the time has come when we re-think the minimum duration of our undergraduate and graduate programs and rationalize them according to the changed world of today.