Take a short course

One of the things that I lament about the Zimbabwe education system is rigidity. Another term for that would be compartmentalisation. If you have read some of my articles in the past you will know I am passionately against this.

Most schools have a system where they ship you into certain classes at form 3 according to “your strengths”. So in my case I found myself being cheated of the opportunity to do History and Building, subjects which I quite loved. I then took History as an extra subject, which was quite demanding and still I couldn’t do the same with Building Studies. We may argue resources as the challenge here but it has more to do with how the classes are defined.

At high school I wanted to take sociology as an extra subject but the headmaster “strongly” discouraged me from registering for that subject at exam time, so I ended up not writing it. He was worried about the effects it would have on the pass rates for the school, (if there is only one student doing a subject, the pass rate is either 0% or 100%).

 At university whilst doing my B.Sc., I wanted to shop around for courses in the finance areas but you guessed it: nothing doing.

That was back then, this is now! The difference is that in the now, you can literally build your own educational experience by taking short courses whether in the classroom or online.

Short courses are very useful things when you want to focus on a specific skill. Let’s say for example you are tasked with organising an event, you can really gain a lot from registering for a short online course on event management.

Entrepreneurs in particular have a big challenge, usually if you are starting something you have to fit into a lot of roles. That may mean you are the accountant, manufacturer, sales rep and even your own manager! Going to college to do long programmes for each skill is a definite no no! But taking a short course for each will definitely fill in the gaps. I believe that a lot of people do nice things but just lack the skills to take it to the next levels. This also comes from that compartmentalisation I talked about earlier.

Have you ever seen that the house builders in your circle always have contracts on their plate but not a lot to show for it? They have the technical skills but not the business skills.

At the other end of the spectrum we have business people with no technical skills. O.k. so you have done your 4 year degree in business, you are all ready to manage some aspect of someone’s business, only thing is: there are no jobs. So what do you do? If you are a marketer you could still run with something or if you are an accountant you could sell services. But you could also learn things like welding, woodworking and so on. Learning such skills will help at the time you are starting and don’t have capital to hire labour or outsource. It will also help later when the business grows because you understand every aspect of it. Take a look at the world’s biggest companies and you will find that the CEO’s have a strong grip on both the technical and business aspects.

The last example I will look at is that of PhD holders. When studying for a PhD, one zeroes in on a very specific part of a field. What this means is that PhD students are generally ignorant about everything else! Imagine then giving such a person responsibility over a business. That’s generally going to result in disaster. I used to think it strange to hear of someone with a PhD now doing an MBA. An MBA is not a short course, but it does illustrate the point at hand: learning should never stop! Keep up skilling yourself no matter what you already possess in your educational portfolio and short courses are particularly designed for that!

If you are looking for a short course to do, send us an email at postmaster@careerzim.com and we will help you with the search!

Author: Edmore Munedzimwe