Tri-Semester–friend or foe? ~ By OSOMBAH Steve BY OSOMBAH Steve W.

When the rumours of introduction of tri-semester programme hit the education corridors, there was so much joy among students. Moi University will be the 3rd university to introduce the programme after  University   of   Nairobi  and  Jomo  Kenyatta  University  of  Agriculture and Technology. But   have  you  thought   about   the   implications of the tri-semester programme?

Most students embraced  the  idea  of   tri-semester  mainly  because one will take three years in pursuing a degree programme as opposed to the four years. Thus joining the job market looks near. Also, one is able to pursue masters, PhD, and finish while still young.

The program will also be beneficial on the  front  that  many people will be able to access higher education. This will be due to high turnover of graduates. Students will be completing their studies early giving chance for others to join the university.

However, all is not rosy though as far  as  the  tri-semester  is concerned. The programme has several negative implications. First on the list, universities will be producing more graduates/professionals which the job market cannot accommodate. The net results will be high  unemployment  rates. Currently  40%  of  the   employable  population is unemployed and the government raised the retiring age to 60 years down from 55 years for the civil servants while Lecturers and Judges have their retirement age at 70. How many are willing to wait for them to retire?

In addition higher learning institutions are in existence and many more are cropping up. The said institutions are not exploring other areas of study but they instead join in the offering of the so called marketable courses and same courses offered by other institutions of higher learning. For   instance,  Bachelor  of  EconomicsBusiness  Administration, Business Management and Commerce all scramble for the same job niche.

Secondly, I have duly  noted  that  most  companies  prefer  employees who are at least 24 years and  above. You can  check the local dailies where the job advertisements are published if in doubt.  What implications does this have on tri-semester? Now if one enrolls in tri-semester programme he/she will complete studies at the age of 21 assuming that he/she began when having 19 years..

There is a general misconception that when you complete the studies early  you  have  high  chance  of    getting    an  employment  opportunity. It is only graduates from Medicine  who  almost  have automatic employment given that the there is always a shortage of doctors. For the rest it is a jungle where only the aggressive shall see the light of the day.

Lastly, there is the aspect of work overload to both lecturers and teachers. This may result  in  reduction  in  job  performance as lecturers have to beat the deadline for completion of syllabuses, as well as students having no enough time to prepare for their examinations.

The debate of tri-semester programme was conceived in a bid to cut  down  on  the  time  spent  in   the  university. Little  or  no  consideration was given  towards  the  far  reaching  implications  of    tri-semester. Is the programme beneficial or should be abolished?

The Writer is a 3rd Year–Communication &Public Relations

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