Essay Sample on University Degrees: Boosting Earnings in Sub-Saharan Africa

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1873 Words
Date:  2023-03-26


Although education has some clear premium, recent studies have revealed that the rate of return for a college degree for young people has never been higher. As the number of graduate increases every year, the value that a college degree adds decreases. It is for this reason that a university degree will boost earnings by more than 20% in Sub-Saharan Africa due to the relatively rare cases of a university degree and only up to 9% in Scandinavia, where more than 40% of the adults have degrees (Gaba, 2017). Currently, it is tough to argue that the acquisition of knowledge associated with a university degree is still relevant. Several data arguments have revealed that there is a weak correlation between education level and job performance (Gaba, 2017).The study is based on university education, and its primary focus will be to establish whether university education is in line with job market. The study is of great importance as it would enable universities to draft changes to their learning policies to fit the needs of job market. The argument in this paper is that university education is not in line with job market. Following the discussions that will be provided, it is a pointer that university graduates may find themselves unfit for the thousands of jobs available. Some of the hot topics in this area include: why a university degree is essential; the key purpose of higher education; and higher education and employment.

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According to Turbot (2015), there are 73 million young people globally who are looking for jobs, yet millions of vacancies remain unfilled. It therefore leaves a lot of questions on the kind of qualifications required for these millions of vacancies. In 2015, for example, there were two million vacant posts in the United Arabs Emirates (UAE), where more than five million were looking for jobs. Universities all over the world produce qualified graduated, but most employers still say that there is a severe shortage of skilled workers (Al-Qirim et al., 2018). According to employers, a college or university degree is no longer the only criteria needed to secure a job.

The study will majorly focus on university education in the UAE, providing reasons why it is not in line with the job market. However, information from other countries like the United States may also be used to countercheck on the data and information pertaining to the topic. The proposed research will have a lot of impact on the field since the recommendations provided at the end of the study could be of help to the formulators of educational policies and the learning institutions. Moreover, students may also get to know what is required of them in the job market besides their university degree. The study will try to answer some of the pending questions from the literature that highlight the gaps in the three factors towards the issue in the field. One of the questions is "why there are more job vacancies than the number of those seeking employment." Previous studies have focused on other factors leading to unemployment and not the university education system.

Problem Statement

Current Issue

The society over the past years has laid an enormous amount of pressure in revising the purpose of universities (Al-Qirim et al., 2018). According to Al-Qirim et al., (2018), one of the purposes of the universities on the one hand, is to teach graduates social skills so that they can help in building a better foreseeable future for their society. On the other hand, the authors state that some individuals feel that universities are obligated to perform what the community requires, and that is to prepare the graduates for the workforce. The ideal situation is that universities should produce graduates who are able to fit into the job market immediately and deliver to the expectation of the economy (Mavromaras, McGuinness, O'Leary, Sloane, & Wei, 2013).

However, this has not been achieved by the universities. While universities are mandated to provide students with advanced knowledge in their respective courses and or subjects and how such knowledge can be applied, these institutions have failed to develop versatile critical thinkers who are the primary necessity in the job market. Most employers in the corporate and technology world of today seek to employ people rich in soft skills, good in communication, corporation, and other technical know-how (Mavromaras et al., 2013). Universities have failed to teach these skills that are required in the job market. The world is moving towards an era where computers do much of the tasks, and due to the changing nature of employment and the challenges faced by society today, there is a need for individuals who can make critical evaluation of situations. The desired state of this situation is that university graduates should be able to directly get into the job market and fir without the employers having to spend extra in terms of their recruitment and training. Besides, they should also possess the required soft skills that can enable the corporations to thrive in the market.

Specific Problem(s) Underpinning the Issue

One of the significant problems is the aspect of behavioral incompetency among the graduates. According to many employers, graduates who have behavioral incompetency raise the cost of employee selection and recruitment as well as training. Most employers have warned of surging business due to the rising costs of hiring fresh university graduates who are incompetent. University education majorly focuses on academic qualifications and not qualifications needed for entry into the job market. Today's graduates are the least working generation in U.S history (Seaman J. E., Allen, & Seaman J., 2018).

According to Boudarbat and Chernoff (2010), only a third of college graduated had an encounter or attended internships after their college. The implication of this is that a majority of the graduates have not had any avenue to exercise or apply what they study in class. However, those who attended internships after their degrees are twice as likely to get a job waiting for them once they completed their degree as compared to those who did not. According to Litz and Scott (2017), one major reasons why most graduates do not go for post-degree internships is because most of them are unpaid which demotivates them, hence most of them directly begin seeking real employment instead of internships.

Another significant issue is that not all qualifications have distinct value in the labor market. The labor market is segmented according to job quality, and there is yet no full knowledge-based economy in place (Litz & Scott, 2017). Besides, there is no sufficient number of skilled jobs that can absorb the existing large number of university graduates. However, there are a series of sectors having higher levels of technological developments, and which have good working conditions for university graduates, including information technology, health sector, architecture, and education (Corominas, Saurina, & Villar, 2010).

Another major problem underpinning this issue is the emergence of distance learning, which has taken over the classroom education in most parts of the country. Students can learn from the comfort of their homes without necessarily going to school. This raises the authenticity of the learning acquired by these learners due to the lack of practicability in the online education platforms (Larson, Ghaffarzadegan, & Xue, 2014). Students learning through their computers do not get the direct engagement with the practical elements about their subject since everything is done one, and this denies them the chance to acquire the skills required in the job market (Gaba, 2017). Besides, they are not exposed, and they do not have the necessary social skills, among other soft skills required by employers.

Proposed Solution - NOVELTY

Universities have to reorganize their learning approaches if they are to produce graduates who are critical thinkers, good in collaboration, leadership, and are rich in problem-solving skills. These are the qualities needed in modern life, and most of the employers in the job market are keen to look for such qualities in any potential employee. However, learning in the universities occurs in large lecture halls, and students get rewarded for their abilities to remember and reiterate the information passed to them, and this has been proven to be one of the least effective learning methods. For there to be effective learning, three things have to be put into consideration.

First, the students should be able to reflect on what they have been taught. Reflection is critical as it assists the students to assess what they have grabbed and what they do not know. Through reflection, students build new pathways linking information that were not grabbed previously, and this is a pivotal contributor to critical thinking. This situation shows little promise of improvement unless something is done since the education system rewards students for their ability to remember what they have been taught, and not for how critical they are in their thinking. Through reflection-based studies, the graduates will be able to acquire the critical thinking skills which will then help them boost their employability, due to the ability to solve some of the problems listed.

The second thing is that universities must do away with the system where the students are merely passive receptors of information, and instead become active experimenters (Clark & White, 2010). Taking an active part in the learning process would enable the students to be responsible for the results and ensure that whatever they learn is relevant to their context. As a result, they come up with habits that help them to learn later in their lives, like motivation, self-regulation, and curiosity. This factor would make the graduates be in line with the job market requirements as they are molded into responsible individuals who can account for their actions and who understand the things they do.

Thirdly, universities have to reinvent their policies to ensure that the learning process entails the students applying new concepts and skills. Through this, it is a natural test for the students' understanding of the things they have studied. The students should do something, receive feedback about it, then refine their approach to it and do it over and over again to build neural pathways for association and retrieval (Clark & White, 2010).

Internships after university should be a mandatory thing for all the students to attend, and the duration of the internships should be prolonged to enable the students enough time to grasp the practical skills that they require to thrive in the job market. Universities are the planning stage for the aspirations of a society, and they must begin to produce employable leaders who can meet the problems stopping the world from making progress (Clark & White, 2010). Universities have to redesign and assess learning if they are to produce graduates with the appropriate skills and thinking ways. Compulsory internships after university degree would help curb this problem since the graduates will acquire the on-job experience required in the job market.


  • To measure the effects of university graduates' competencies on the issue.
  • To investigate the influence/impact of job demand from the employer.
  • To assess the impact of lack of engagement of the university graduates on internships after the completion of their degrees.


Al-Qirim, N., Tarhini, A., Rouibah, K., Mohamd, S., Yammahi, A. R., & Yammahi, M. A. (2018). Learning orientations of IT higher education students in UAE University. Education and Information Technologies, 23(1), 129-142. Retrieved from https...

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Essay Sample on University Degrees: Boosting Earnings in Sub-Saharan Africa. (2023, Mar 26). Retrieved from

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