A Study into Improving University education

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Nowadays, job opportunities have become a competition ground in many organizations and countries because the opportunities are limited. As a matter of fact, attaining a good university degree is not enough to enable a graduate get the first graduate job. The employers are faced with the challenge of selecting the right candidate from thousands of applicants who may have attained a good final grade from the University. To accomplish this, the employers are looking for smart and qualified candidates who can handle particular challenges without much increase in the cost of production incurred through training the person to handle the job. They normally look for prior experience and skills one developed whilst in the university which not only enriches ones CV but also place one at a better position compared to the rest in competition.

Long term analysis has shown that the desired skills required by the employers fall into four categories namely; self-reliance skills where a candidate possess self-awareness, people skills which means a person can work in team and is supportive, general employment skills where a candidate possess problem solving skills and the last one is the specialist skills which specific occupational skills e.g. IT are needed. A recent report conducted by the department of Education and skills in UK has shown that employers are looking for graduates with sandwich degrees because they possess skills and knowhow of what they expect in the job market. The report further asserts that there is no rapport between the level of skills and experience required in a particular job and the salary. Employers like to work with people who possess strong communication and interpersonal skills who can organize thoughts and ideas effectively (Hall, n.d, p. 1). Intelligence is essential also because it depicts a person as motivated and goal-oriented and one who can contribute ideas to the work being done. According to Hall (n.d, p. 1), having all the qualifications are not enough, you need to show enthusiasm so that the employer will be lest assured that the candidate will dedicate 100% to the job.

For graduates to fit in the ever competing world, a university must consider its teaching strategy in order to offer the required education, skills and experience and put its graduates at a better position in the market. The students need thorough exposure to what they are going to find in the job market in order to prepare them psychologically and gain more confidence to face the challenge ahead. This means that a university must not only focus on giving its graduates a paper degree but also consider giving extensive skills and prior exposure to enable them fit well in the job market. A good teaching strategy need to be adopted by the universities which would lead to effective learning. Consequently, the students get an everlasting knowledge, skills and values as opposed to ditching out paper work only (Felder, 1999, p. 1).

The following teaching strategies have proved to be effective in preparing the students for the outside world challenges and enable him to compete well with similar candidates from other universities. In order to ensure a student grasps the necessary skills and experience after a lesson, the instructor ought to have instructional objectives stating clearly what a student must be capable of performing at the end of the lesson to enable the instructor point out weak areas in a particular student. At the end of the course it is the responsibility of the instructor in that university to ensure that the student can do practically what the course appertains. By doing this, the quality of education offered by the university gets a major boost in terms of skills and competence acquired by its students. This strategy enables students to know what is expected of them in the job market and therefore they may tackle the challenge more confidently. In other words, the more a student knows what is expected of him/her, the more he will be able to meet the expectations. These well formulated objectives assist instructors to prepare meaningful assignment schedules and lecture work which are used for in-class activities, out of class assignments and tests for the students (Prospects.ac.uk, 2010, p. 1).

Another strategy that should be adapted by a university in preparing its students for the competitive world is the use of active learning in the class (Felder, 1999, p. 1). Students can normally stay focused for only ten minutes after which their attention starts drifting away. At the time of attention drift, they can absorb little and retain less. To retain their attention, it is a good practice to give them something to do at intervals. This strategy does not only retain students’ attention but also improve their skills and experience. An exercise that can serve this purpose is when the instructor asks the class to get into groups and debate about a certain topic as directed by him/her. This helps improve communication skills and inter-personal skills which are desirable by the employers. Active learning involves recalling earlier learned materials where a student recalls what they learnt in the previous lecture. It also involves answering questions where groups compete in answering some questions. Other activities include problem solving, explaining written material, analytical and critical thinking and lastly generating questions and summarizing. All these activities are aimed at improving skills of a student and fit well in the job market. Another strategy is the use of cooperative learning where the instructors involves students in accomplishing tasks and get the final product. Members in a team are made to depend on one another to accomplish a certain task and incase a team fails, all the members in the group loses. This trains them to be team players in the work places at the places they are legible to work.

Universities should have career advisers to assist students in making career choices and development, and help them decide the direction they want their career to follow (Prospects.ac.uk, 2010, p. 1). University career advisers offer extensive materials which help students identify career opportunities as they arise, free CV workshops, interview techniques and tips on filling of application forms. After the course a student is taking in a university, he/she wants to be employed as soon as possible and therefore the student must consider employability factors to enable their dreams come true. Employability refers to the situation where the employers view a candidate as a potential employee who can be entrusted with a certain position. The following are some of the factors that will enable a person become more employable and accomplish his/her aspirations. The first one is the attitude where a student needs to have the right attitude towards any organization because it is very important in handling any task ahead of you. When you develop bad attitude towards people or work, it makes you unemployable because this makes it hard to work with those people or to perform well in a certain job. Therefore, right attitude is important in getting a good job and hence become employable.

Another factor is skills one possess to accomplish a certain given task. This factor is very important because most employers are looking for graduates who possess sandwich degrees i.e. theoretical work coupled with practical skills. A person may have many skills but these makes one to employable so long as they can satisfy the employer. Employers look for a candidate who possesses vast relevant skill sets that satisfy its criteria. Skills depend on the work person intends to perform. This means that a person can have a variety of skills. Another factor that increases employability is the ability to communicate well. This factor is normally ignored by the majority but it plays a major role in determining employability of a person. If a person can communicate effectively, then they can be sure of getting a job in any company or organization. But if one cannot communicate well then they become unemployable because most organizations are looking for good communication skills. Therefore students who want to increase their employability must strive to develop communication skills because this will help them get a worthwhile employment and better life. The last factor in achieving employability is to observe the work ethics. It’s only a person with work ethics who can work harmoniously in a work place and to their best ability (David, 2009, p. 1). People with poor ethics normally go to work late and cannot beat deadlines and hence they are unemployable. For a student to get a good job, they need to improve their work ethics. Conclusively, if a university goes by these strategies of teaching they are going to produce competent and skilled graduates who stand on top of the market competition. On the other hand, if a student wants to be employable, he/she needs to practice the above discussed deliverables.