High standards in higher education

Dear students and colleagues,

In the age of COVID-19, it is clear, even for laymen, that knowledge, understanding, science, and humanity are key to the survival of humans. Yet, some people consider these trying times as a means to abandon their responsibility to seek quality. Well, it is not.

Some of our students will want to get an easy test. Some of our colleagues will want to give them an easy test; after all, isn’t it enough that we are facing a pandemic? In my opinion, this is a flawed argument. Please, consider the following:

  1. You would not want your children to be treated by a doctor that cannot read updated research, write proper prescriptions, or make correct diagnosis and conclusions, would you? Therefore, a professor must make sure that his/her students are of the correct standard in terms of knowledge, understanding, and skills; otherwise they will kill their patients or cause damage to their community. A professor must make sure he/she is not complicit in killing anyone by allowing ignorant students go pass his class. Also, a student must understand that by demanding to pass a class that he/she is not qualified to pass, they are putting other people and the community at risk.
  2. You do not want the janitor to get a medical degree just because he attends the Faculty of Medicine every day to clean the rooms, do you? Would you want him/her to treat your kids? Some students think that they are entitled to pass a class just because they perform the actions, regardless of proper understanding. Their mindset is “if I attend, they must let me pass”. Again, this cannot be correct.
  3. When you or your loved ones are sick, you search for the best university professor to treat you, or the best available doctor. You do not go for a doctor that got his degree because his/her father was a professor, because he/she cheated on the exams, begged for mercy credit points to graduate, or passed because they act funny, or do you? You want the best.

I hope you got the point that you and the society want the best people to treat you and your children, and you want the professors to ensure that they are worthy. The same applies to any profession, you want only the best to make your life better and the future of your children more secure. This is what professors do every semester year after year. The same professors that fail some students pass most of their class; the ones that are worthy of passing the class. That is why you have so many good doctors and professionals in Egypt and other parts of the world.

This global pandemic should be a clear message for all of us. While we are learning to do things in a different way, we should not forget that this is the time for high standards in higher education.  It is the time for higher standards in every level of education. Get out of your comfort zone, do your best, take responsibility, and help save humanity.

Ausama Abdelraouf Abdelmoneim Yousif