The Controversy Surrounding Short Course Graduation Gowns: Preserving the Significance of Traditional Education Lizzy Nekhoma

Lizzy Nekhoma, Online Writer

In recent times, a controversial trend has emerged where individuals are donning graduation gowns after completing short courses, some as brief as six months or less. This shift has sparked debates about the significance and symbolism of graduation gowns, with concerns raised about the dilution of its value and the blurring of lines between long-term tertiary education and short courses.

Graduation gowns have historically been associated with the completion of long-term tertiary education programmes, symbolizing the dedication, perseverance, and academic rigor required to earn a degree. By extending this tradition to short courses, the distinctiveness and value of traditional education can be undermined. The symbolic value of graduation gowns risks losing its significance when applied to brief skill-based programmes that may not encompass the same breadth and depth of knowledge.

Completing a degree after several years of tertiary education involves a considerable investment of time, effort, and resources. It represents a comprehensive journey of intellectual growth, research, and academic challenges. By equating this substantial accomplishment to the completion of a short course, the achievements of individuals who have undergone rigorous, long-term education can be diminished.

The wearing of graduation gowns has traditionally signaled a higher level of education, which often influences employment opportunities and career advancement.

Preserving the exclusivity of graduation gowns for long-term educational achievements helps maintain the integrity and reputation of academic institutions. Colleges and universities have long been recognized as centers of higher learning, where strict academic standards are upheld. Allowing the use of graduation gowns for short courses can potentially dilute the distinction between reputable educational institutions and providers of brief, specialised programmes. P

Rather than adopting graduation gowns for short courses, alternative forms of recognition can be explored to celebrate the achievements of individuals completing such programs. Certificates, specialized badges, or unique symbols can be designed specifically for these courses, symbolizing the acquisition of valuable skills and competencies without blurring the lines with traditional graduations. #we are not happy with “uneducated” people putting on graduation gowns.

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