23 Mar 2022


A Second Chance for Higher Education

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Academic level: College

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In the South African Comedy movie the Gods Must be Crazy (1980) , the developed world is depicted to be so complicated that children spend most of their childhood studying how to survive in the world. Thirty six years later, the situation has gotten considerable worse to the extent that the information earned in childhood and early adulthood studies cannot last the entire adulthood. Many things are continuously advancing and changing that it is now imperative not just to pursue specialized education just to hold on to your job but also advance the level of higher education in order to be able to advance a career (Hagelskamp et al., 2013). This is an attempt to understand and analyze this notion of veterans in the job sector going back to school and its effect on the threefold of the employee, the employer and the academic institutions.

The world we live in has irrevocably changed in the last two decades. The advent of the computer has revolutionized the working environment. The paper-trail that marked the organized office has been replaced by the intranet and the celebrated file and registry has now been replaced by the domain server. Price stamps have disappeared from the convenience store since mechanism was developed where the only thing the cashier needs to do is scan the barcode of the items so purchased and the till computer will establish the prices, calculate the totals, calculate the taxes and the discounts, factor in any coupons (which also have barcodes) and come up with the final price of all items by itself.

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Even professional jobs have been transformed, the Attorney does not need to make a trip to the Court house every time he needs to file pleadings or peruse a file as all information can be found online. In the hospital, a well-organized and secured database carries the information with regard to all the patients, their medical history, current prescriptions and allergies. All professions have heard to do an information technology (IT) upgrade (Emerson, 2009). Apart from information technology, ways, means and tools have also advanced and changed drastically within the last two decades. Most systems have become motorized, simplified and cutting-edge.

The upshot of the foregoing is that the qualified employee twenty years ago is no longer qualified for the same position he has been holding, he will find himself in a dilemma of retirement or going back to school. Many employees have opted for the later creating the now common trend of the working student. The working student lives a double life; he has his instructions and obligations in his place of work as well as an academic workload and assignments from school (Käpplinger & Robak, 2014). Further, most working students’ programs compress the tuition period thus creating an even bigger workload for the student employees.

The first major effect of studying and learning on the student employee is extreme and continuous fatigue as they try to cope with both fulltime work obligations and the academic work. The second issue is the complete forfeiture of a social life as the normal working hours are taken by the job hence, social and family time allocated to academic work. The advent of the evening classes and weekend school has seen to this. Assignments can also only be done late at night after the evening classes or on Sundays and holidays. The worst case scenario involves the working student who is carrying out studies in a discipline different from the one he carries on in his employment. This can easily lead to disorientation.

The employer has also had to adjust to the working student scenario, one of the new facilities allowed to the working student is the mandatory examination leave since during examinations, the working employee cannot be expected to be at the workplace more so when they are pursuing national examinations or those examinations controlled by international examination bodies since examination schedules are during working hours (Käpplinger & Robak, 2014). Further, the fatigued working student who does not have a social life is also irritable and having concentration problems at work leading to reduced production. The effect of disorientation shown above will also affect the employer’s productivity especially when the working student is a senior official.

The last party is the academic situation which has found the working student as a mixed blessing. From a pecuniary perspective, the working student is a welcome addition to academia as he has the capacity to pay tuition fees without placing a lot of demand on the school since he does not even have the time (Emerson, 2009). However, handling the working student comes with its challenges and the schools have had to undergo several changes including the introduction of evening and online classes as well as distance learning programs.

The working student is a concept whose time has come and therefore, cannot be halted, it is however, important for the three stakeholders; the student, the employer and the higher learning institution to come up with a clear policy that is acceptable to all parties since they are all beneficiaries to the concept but left unchecked, they will all suffer from its few but fundamental challenges. 


Emerson, A. (2009). Adults going back to School for new start. Retrieved from <http://www.tbo.com/news/education/adults-going-back-to-school-for-new-start-115766/>

Hagelskamp, C., Schleifer, D., DiStasi, C., & Public, A. (2013). Is College Worth It for Me? How Adults without Degrees Think about Going (Back) to School. Public Agenda.

Käpplinger, B., & Robak, S. (2014). Changing Configurations in Adult Education in Transitional Times : International Perspectives in Different Countries. New York: Peter Lang AG

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