Dear Director of College Education,
I am writing to present to you how widespread the gap between theory and practicum in most of our Community Colleges is affecting the quality of graduates presented to the job market.
Due to progress in education technology and changes in the employment market, the higher education landscape has changed a lot over the years. No longer are employers looking for graduates who purely went towards a regimented classroom learning process with assignments or exams, evaluating their success with measurable.
Instead, most of them look for graduates who are valuable, applicable to their workplace, hands-on and prove effective for whatever job they apply.
The theory taught in our colleges does not always facilitate an adequate performance in the employment practicum. Most graduates are not always able to restructure the theory received into important knowledge for their practical activities in the job market.
The result of this is the employment of a graduate trained for teaching, gets to a classroom and doesnt know how to handle the students because they have never had to deal with the practical dynamics of the real class. Or a journalist who has no experience of reporting from the field or how to handle certain broadcast equipment.
As an issue, we have many graduates who are unemployed after a four-year program, since employers want people who have experience at work.
According to studies, students who practice what theyre learning first-hand are three and a half times more likely to retain that knowledge than when theyre sitting in a lecture room, hand-scribing notes.
Hence our colleges, like others institutions should implement student-centered teaching (learner-based teaching), which moves the focus to the student and gives them more control over their learning.
By shifting the focus directly onto students learning outcomes, theres an opportunity to ensure all students reach their goals and enhance the reputation of their future host institutions as universal hubs of excellence.
After careful reflection, I have realized that the theory-practice problem is essentially an issue that can be worked on. The following models of teaching if incorporated would better the quality of employees produced by our colleges.
Despite the vast technological advancement, teacher-to-student learning is still significant. When done rightly, guided learning would help students understand the why behind what theyre being taught. Upon completion of their course, students are always equipped with fundamental knowledge of general concepts and theories, in addition to possessing abilities to evaluate, analyze and apply their expertise in order to solve problems.
When students take part in collaborative projects, they get an opportunity to work alongside peers towards a common goal. As they work in teams, they can learn the value of cooperation and collaboration with others from diverse disciplines. Projects often challenge participants intellect, stretch their creativity and test their endurance in the tasks given.
Our colleges should work towards developing a partnership where students can make more meaningful linkages between the content they learn in their courses and their early practicum field experiences such as partnering with organizations or companies. Having students benefiting through internship opportunities from whence they would gain work experience and translate theory into practice.
The program will undoubtedly provide outstanding opportunities for learning and development, on top of invaluable career exposure which will develop the student into a better employee in future.
Using these different models of learning, students at our community colleges can be confident that they will receive a comprehensive education that will prepare them well for success in their future careers or further study.
Head of Department Kimlil College.
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