Why Study Abroad, Only to Return with a Rejected Degree?
Too often, I see universities reject the undergraduate degrees of students who wish to pursue further education.
Well, not every university around the world is recognised globally.
With more then 10,000 institutions of higher learning to choose from, how do you tell which ones are recognised?
First, you need to understand what is meant by “recognition”. There are usually three levels.
Recognition by employers
You want to make sure that the country you are going to study and the university you have chosen has a global brand. This should mean that most employers recognise that institution.
Usually when a job is advertised, employers will receive hundreds, if not thousands, of applications. They go through each application and CV.
If they recognise the name of the university or country of study and all else looks good, your application goes in the “yes” pile. If not, it is rejected.
Recognition by professional bodies
Many careers require that you are a member of the appropriate professional body before you can be employed or contracted to undertake work.
In Kenya, some examples include the Law Society of Kenya, the Institute of Engineers of Kenya, the Kenya Medical Association, the Geological Society of Kenya, the Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya, and the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya.
Each body has its own rules and regulations. It would be wise to find out beforehand if the degree offered at the destination you are planning to head to is going to be recognised by them, what Grade Point Average (GPA) you need for recognition, and if you need to sit additional exams on your return.
If they are not going to recognise it, then you should choose another institution.
Recognition by other universities
Many students now do not stop their studies at undergraduate level. For you to continue your education, the new university needs to make sure that what you have been taught at undergraduate level matches what they would have taught you at their university.
This is to ascertain that you will not be disadvantaged by weaker knowledge, and that all students have come from a similar educational background.
It is unfortunate that many universities around the world have courses that are not globally recognised.
We live in a global village and it is likely that you will undertake your high school at home, undergraduate studies in one country, and postgraduate studies in another.
We often fail to think ahead when choosing universities and instead go where our friends are headed.
Many students who choose cheap destinations whose qualifications are not generally recognised, just because they want to study abroad.
In such a case, it would be better to stay in Kenya and join one of the older public universities or a well-established private one. These tend to be globally recognised and offer quality education.
Recognition is also determined by how well you perform.
Even if the university you went to is globally recognised, a reputable university for postgraduate studies will ask for a certain GPA for entry. If you graduated with a 2.2 and the university asks for a 2.1, they will not admit you.
How then, do you check to see if a university is recognised? You are advised to look at the specific course.
If, say, you want to study engineering in an institution in Australia, look at their website to see if the degree is recognised by Engineers Australia — the professional body that licenses Australian engineers. If it is, then it is likely to be recognised in Kenya.
Look at the global ranking of your chosen university. If it is in the top 1,000 globally, then you should not have a problem. If it is in the 1,000 – 2,000 range, then some universities will recognise it, but not all.
It would be sad to find yourself in a situation where you struggle to get work because your qualification is not recognised, as many graduates do when they return to Kenya.
Do your research well to ensure that you will be in demand with employers, be able to join the relevant professional body, and carry on with further studies.
By Mahul Shah
The writer is a director of the International Education Centre
This article originally appeared on the Daily Nation.
The views expressed on this op-ed/blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the opinions of Mwakilishi News Media, or any other individual, organization, or institution. The content on this op-ed/blog is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. The author himself is responsible for the content of the posts on this op-ed/blog, not any other organization or institution which he might be seen to represent. The author is not responsible, nor will he be held liable, for any statements made by others on this op-ed/blog in the op-ed blog comments, nor the laws which they may break in this country or their own, through their comments’ content, implication, and intent. The author reserves the right to delete comments if and when necessary. The author is not responsible for the content or activities of any sites linked from this op-ed/blog. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations and other content on here are original works of the op-ed/blog author and the copyrights for those works belong to the author.