Education has evolved, and so has life and the demands of work too. Expectations and needs from employers regarding grades have also evolved.

Class division and degrees are significant and are still relevant in the world at large.

The now common phrase ‘’First class is overrated’’ is actually wrong. Education has never, is not and can never be a rip off.

While Class degrees, grades, and division play a vital role in the educational system and should not be looked down on, it has its limits. It is when these limits rear its head that many begin to shout, education isn’t what it used to be.

Back in the years, people jumped on first-class degrees like a stranded passenger catching the last ride at a bus terminal. The celebration would blow off the roof. It was also an indication that a job was waiting somewhere. It was easier to scan Curriculum Vitae and filter out applicants by Their Academic Grades. But now, the situation is entirely different. While many graduates are still hanging on to this expectation, the reality hits others. Parents and some Career guides advise their children and students to aim for First Class Degrees and the likes. The truth is, this is important, and people should go to school and aim for the best by putting in the effort. However, reality should be taught too and used as a yardstick when giving educational and career advice.

A student who graduated with a Third-class may likely even gets employment before someone with a First Class Division. On the other hand, a First-class student may have all the academic requirements as seen on paper but may not demonstrate this knowledge level. Thus, they are rejected for a job or any other admission or recruiting organisation or institution. The people who are against education will say, “Oh! He graduated with a First Class Degree but couldn’t get a job.” The truth is, there are no jobs out there designed for only First Class graduates.  All jobs out there are for people who possess certain kinds of skills.

A First Class or even a 2:1 degree is not enough to impress employers. These are exceptional personal achievements. It could tell an employer of your work ethic and also that you understood your school work thoroughly. However, if this becomes a common thing among millions of graduates worldwide, then it is no longer a differentiator. If in a room of 20 people applying for a job, and all 20 are first-class graduates, there is no stand-out difference among these 20 applicants. The competition becomes more challenging, and the selection process is even more difficult for the recruiting team. That’s when the question of value proposition comes in. What do you have that others lack? What do you know that others don’t?

As Derek Bok said, “If you think education is expensive try ignorance.”


To be continued …