Awards not the proof of graduates' worth

It is heartening that our local universities are moving away from the nomenclature of First/Second/Third Class Honours in awarding degrees to our graduates (NTU drops 3rd class tag from honours degrees; Oct 7).

This is a small step towards breaking the decades of prejudice against those awarded a lower class of honours degree.

This former classification did have a negative impact, especially when a student sought to apply to other institutions for further studies.

I am not sure if the change in nomenclature will make a difference beyond the "feel-good factor", as the academic standards and grade point average for awarding the respective classes of honours degrees have not changed.

Regardless, no matter how one names the awards, higher education institutions should maintain an attitude of inclusion, discover and nurture the best in every student, and be fair and just in recognising and rewarding performance and achievements.

Students should not be discouraged if they are awarded a lower class of degree.

The proof of excellence is not in the award but in the path of perseverance in the face of challenges, and in the depth and breadth of one's knowledge and experience.

After all, many highly successful people in this world do not have university degrees.

Ho Ting Fei (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2017, with the headline 'Awards not the proof of graduates' worth'. Print Edition | Subscribe