Comparing the First and Third Worlds: Shedding New Light on Private Education

02Feb11

We so often hear the terms “higher education” or “post-secondary education” while living in North American and Western European societies. Living in the West has allowed us to be fortunate enough to attend a post-secondary educational institute of our choice, enrol in the programmes of our choice, and, sometimes, even in the country of our choice. It is simply taken for granted that we have these choices here in the First World. But what of the Third World? What is post-secondary education like there? If we compare post-secondary schools within Canada and the U.K. with that of, say, South Africa (the most industrialised nation on the continent), what may we find?

It is no secret that both Canadians and the British are privileged to be able to choose from a variety of post-secondary schools throughout the nation and obtain degrees/diplomas that are world renown. In Canada, we are given a choice of attending universities, colleges, and/or career colleges, and are able to learn hands-on skills as well as a wide theoretical base of knowledge. We may say the same for the U.K. as there are many publicly and privately funded universities and colleges that offer reputable programmes. Whether you choose to study in Toronto/GTA or to study in London you know that you will obtain a top-notch qualification in whatever discipline you choose to study, be it Business Management, I.T., Accounting, Business Administration, etc.

Credit: London School of Business and Management

According to the 2006 Census, about 48% of all 25-64 year old Canadians either had a university degree or a college diploma. Clearly, Canadians view education as a top priority, as does the U.K. According to the British 2001 Census, about 70% of all people living in England and Wales have received some sort of qualification (i.e. Foundation Diploma, Higher Diploma, Advanced Diploma, or University Degree).  According to South Africa’s ’96 Census, 8% of those aged 26 years and older had achieved a higher than matric (beyond secondary school) qualification.

There is, I believe, an unfortunately common misconception when it comes to post-secondary or higher education in regards to the Third World. I am not so naïve as to believe that there are not suffering schools in certain parts of the world, and more specifically, in Africa. However, I do believe that there are also many private schools in which one may receive a high quality post-secondary education. There are private universities, such as Midrand Graduate University in South Africa in which one may study and receive a quality education in Science and Engineering, Information Technology, Commerce, and Law. There are also private colleges, such as CTI, that offer superior programmes throughout their 12 campuses that prepare students for careers in the I.T. sector, Business, Law, Commerce, and Psychology. In fact, CTI’s programmes have such a highly esteemed reputation that in November 2010, Pearson chose to acquire 75% of the college for £31 million. I believe that specific deal made the world sit up and truly take notice of the education that is readily available in the Third World.

Credit: Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI)

Although the First World certainly has several universities and colleges to choose from, we must also remember that the Third World offers qualifications with similar, if not equal, levels of training. No matter where you choose to study, ensure that the programmes are accredited/registered with the respective Ministry, be dedicated to your chosen field, and let your qualification open up the doors to your future.

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