HEA Accredited Private Zambian Universities Offering DL

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Johann, Aug 11, 2020.

  1. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I would suggest there is no "middle" here. Instead, it will vary widely by situation, and unpredictably so. That's the problem.

    Because a degree is a proxy--it speaks on your behalf when you cannot--you might not get to the "with an explanation" part. It may fail before you do.
  2. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I didn't say that. In fact, I've never accepted "degrees with explanation" as a category, because it suggests that all degrees either are or are not in this category, when such a thing is highly situationally dependent.

    But what you're driving at relates to something I've said often: a degree is not a goal, it's a tool that helps you reach a goal. If a hammer that costs $1 will do the job, it's foolish to buy one that costs $50. But if the job requires some special attribute of the $50 hammer, well then, that's different.
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  3. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    When was that, Rich? The record low is almost 12 cents above that :

    ''On January 21, 2002, the Canadian dollar hit its all-time low against the US dollar dropping to 61.79 cents (US)."

    As recently as 2008, the Canadian dollar was above the US dollar.
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  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    In fact, both currencies have deteriorated over the years, measured against the yardstick of the indestructible Swiss Franc.
    40 years ago, I bought some Swiss francs (later sold when I bought a house) at about 3 for one Canadian dollar. Now I could buy precisely 0.69 Swiss Francs for one Canadian dollar. The chart below shows a similar decline over the years for the U.S. dollar.


    No, I don't think the Canadian Dollar is back up on its knees yet. Even (and perhaps especially) if it were, I'd STILL be looking at foreign opportunities.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  5. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Sorry I misunderstood / misquoted you, Steve.
  6. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    Regarding degrees with or without explanation... I think that all degrees will require explanation if an inquirer is interested in asking.

    Foreign degrees are almost certain to generate those kinds of usually well-intended and genuinely curious questions. I once knew an American with a PhD from the University of Leeds. He says that nobody questioned the academic legitimacy of the degree (Leeds was prominent in his subject at the time and his thesis advisor an internationally known scholar), but he was often asked what it was like living and studying in England. This individual's degree was B&M, but if the degree is DL, that may or may not have become an issue depending on the inquirer's opinion of DL.

    Zambia is almost guaranteed to elicit those kind of questions from other people. It's an exotic place which will generate interest, so the 'What was it like studying in Zambia?' question is almost certain to arise. Thus the DL issue will arise along with 'With the whole world to choose from, why did you choose this school in Zambia?' With a place like Zambia, inquirers are apt to get the impression that you really went out of your way to choose a school there, which will generate interest and hence questions.

    It would help tremendously if the subject of the degree has some Zambian-specific content. Zambian history, Zambian traditional cultures, Zambian biology or geology, or something like that. That would enable one to make the argument that the program was one of the best available in that obscure (to Americans) subject. At the doctoral level, those kinds of things are important. Of course the question would then arise, 'What got you so interested in things Zambian?' It might also consign a graduate to a very narrow academic niche area.

    Regarding the less country-specific subjects (earlier discussion concerned DBAs) such as mathematics (mathematics in Zambia is presumably the same mathematics taught and researched at Cal Tech), it's difficult to think of any Zambian universities with international academic reputations. The University of Zambia is probably the most prominent of the bunch, but its reputation doesn't seem to rise very much above "credible university". The rest seem spread out beneath that, in American terms ranging from low-end to exceedingly iffy. (And the facts would seem to bear that out, if many of their programs aren't accredited in HEA terms.) In my estimation, many of these schools kind of resemble the old California approved sector. (Which I loved back in the day.) There may indeed be diamonds in the rough hidden in there, but an American graduate would have to be prepared to defend his/her choice of program. (I'm motivating myself to start looking at some of their programs in detail to see if any are particularly attractive and whether I could make a case for them.)

    I'm not sure that the answer 'It was extraordinarily inexpensive', while true and exceedingly important from the student's perspective, will impress many professionals or employers. There's likely to be a 'You get what you pay for' presumption in their minds.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
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  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Yes - I guess there would be. I tend to forget this as I didn't go back to school until my 40s - and that was quite some years after my last job application. In fact, I was only a few years from my planned retirement. I guess a person is on thin ice if they bring this up in a job interview. It could be a positive - only if he/she can convince others that what they got was worth five or ten times that price - or that (s)he got superb mileage from the exotic(?) foreign degree - e.g. grad entry into a well-known domestic school, etc.

    When a person is not going to school for employment purposes - he/she has some freedoms that other students don't. I should have reminded myself of that.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2020
  8. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    The moment I posted it I wondered if I was conflating it with the Australian Dollar. Thanks for the fix.
  9. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    This was my contention, that it is a scale, not an either/or.

    Most of us make some compromises in this area because of the circumstances we are (or were) in. But this all sounds like the "hey, here's a cheap degree" thinking that pervades this board.
  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    "Cheap" appeals to the entire world, Rich. (As China and Walmart have both discovered.) It's not limited to degrees. The trick with "cheap" is getting something that's worth far more than you pay. Anyone can buy something "cheap" and later find he/she hasn't saved any money, because the "cheap" thing has broken or won't do the job, or looks horrible etc. Well, there are some pretty horrible-looking cheap degrees, I'll admit. But if you're a major-league "rummaging back," you might uncover a couple of gems. Use both elbows.

    These next two paragraphs are not about degrees, but they do underline my point - you'll see. Through pure coincidence (and knowing brand names) I bought a jacket (Italian) that retailed for $1,700. I paid $2 in a thrift store. I think it may not even have been worn. Perfect fit. I think some rich lawyer just my size died, or something. I bought another one there for around the same price (frequent sales) that was originally from the same store as the other (Harry Rosen, Toronto). The previous owner was a doctor. How did I know? His name tag from a convention was still in the pocket. I later wore it to my cardiologist's office and he remarked that I dressed better than cardiologists do. I told him how much I paid and they almost called another cardiologist for him.

    Last time I was in that store, they had an Arturo Calle. One of the best men's stores in Colombia. But it would have needed alterations. Nah. I didn't bother. Leave some for someone else.... On two other occasions, some years apart, I bought guitars worth about $1,000 each. I paid $200 or so both times. It took me years (and the purchases were at least 10 years apart). They are glorious instruments and have served me well. If they ever need repairs - I'll gladly fork up. Nothing lasts forever without repairs and maintenance. Given proper care, they do last. I have one guitar I was given 55 years ago. It wasn't expensive then. Nowadays, it's in better shape than when it was new.

    The reason I tell all these stories? To show that "cheap" isn't always "bad." (though it often is.) Rich, you completed degrees at low cost by testing out etc. Why is it so uncool to look at "cheap degrees?" or alternate sources of credits. Yes - it's boring to those who don't partake - but vital to those who do. If I find any real gems in the Zambia listing, I'll report on them. No charge. If you don't like them, well -- I'm sorry. (Why are we Canadians always supposed to be good at saying "sorry?")
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  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    I don't know, because I didn't say that.

    You know for a fact that my point has been the over-emphasis on cost. And you also know my main point is fit, with cost being just one factor. Yet so often we find those other factors ignored by people who do an incredible amount of window shopping, yet never actually make a purchase. (In this case, enroll and complete a degree.)

    Here it is: getting the wrong degree because it is cheap is short-sighted and dumb. Fortunately, most of what we read from posters who talk about this never seem to actually enroll and graduate with their "cheap" degrees.

    There's nothing wrong with finding a bargain. But if it's the wrong fit, it could be quite expensive indeed. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0609355/?ref_=ttep_ep30
  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    You have made that point a couple of times, Rich. In fact you made it in the post I responded to:
    Earlier - I think it was in the Foreign Graduate Degrees thread - you admonished about "cheap degrees" and Steve Foerster commented that it's not necessarily a good thing to
    dismiss programs simply because of low price - or both of you might have missed the Big 3.

    Now you say there's nothing wrong with a bargain, as long as it's fit for use etc. I agree - but if I don't look at "cheap degrees," I cut myself off from any possibility of a bargain.
    I had to actually go to that Thrift Shop - and thumb through a lot of stuff - to find that jacket. Same deal here. I may /may not find anything remarkable ... but the truth is out there. (David Duchovny - X-files)
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2020
  14. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Oh yes - here are the exact quotes - it was in the Foreign Grad degrees forum:
    It's here: https://www.degreeinfo.com/index.php?threads/foreign-dl-graduate-degrees.57222/
  15. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    You're taking a snippet and giving it your own meaning. There's nothing I can do with that, so I won't. But I'll restate:

    -- Lots of chatter about this or that cheap degree, as if that was the only concern, and mainly by people who don't actually do those degrees. This is particularly dangerous when we start getting into all of those degrees that might not even hold up under just a bit of scrutiny.

    -- My opinion is that cost, while a factor, is less important than a host of others, and that it should be about fit. However, as I've pointed out before, most of us have to work within limitations, and cost could be one of them. Other limitations include content areas, delivery methods, time frames, and external factors (like work, life, family, other obligations, etc.).

    -- I don't believe I dismissed a degree or degrees solely because it/they were "cheap." Please show me that quote.

    -- If you want to quote me on something, please do so entirely so the context is clear.

  16. heirophant

    heirophant Well-Known Member

    It certainly seems to elevate (low) price to the position of master-variable. And from the point of view of the prospective student, it may well be. But I doubt that many employers or professional peers will look at things that way.

    Especially in the case of doctorates. (And this thread was talking about DBAs.) If an employer is looking for an individual with advanced knowledge of some subject, that employer isn't likely to favor the graduate of the least expensive program just because the program was cheap. The graduate will need to be able to make a case that the cheap program was nevertheless academically strong in the subject in question. (Hence, cheap but unknown/doubtful programs will often be "degrees with explanation".)

    In the case of the Zambian programs, that case might be easiest to make in subjects specific to Zambia. Employers and professional peers will probably assume that study of Zambian history, Zambian geology, wildlife or vegetation, or Zambian languages and cultures might be most developed in Zambian universities. That assumption isn't likely to carry over to more international and generic subjects like mathematics, molecular biology or even business administration. The graduate will need to be able to sell the program in a way that Stanford graduates won't need to.
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  17. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    When I was considering doing the DTech in Business Administration from the Technikon of South Africa, the cost and accessibility were intriguing. But I didn't want to do research in business at the doctoral level (the DTech was by research), and I was concerned about the acceptability of the degree. So I passed on it, even though it was really, really, really inexpensive. A couple of thousand a year. And I wasn't making a very good salary at the time. But I decided to do a degree with a better fit and accept that it was a lot more expensive (and that I'd have to borrow to do it).

    Fit, that's the key. And cost is certainly a factor in deciding what fits. Just because I say it isn't the only thing--and it's too often treated that way on this board--doesn't mean I think cost doesn't matter.
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Interesting way they do medical school in Zambia. Cavendish U. has such a program - yes, it's on the HEI list. Entry requires NO first degree. Just full High School Certificate with 5 credits including Biology, Math, Chemistry and English. Program is 6 years, (12 semesters) and ends with Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery degrees. Costs $15,560 US per semester. That's around $188K US for the program - a ton of money in Zambia. Maybe they have a plan whereby their own pay less - I didn't see anything about it, though.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
  19. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    BTW, even a free degree can be a bad idea and cost you in the long run. Time, effort, opportunity cost, the impact on one's career and professional identity.
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    True. And to my disappointment, I don't find much in the entire HEI list that is really Zambia-specific. There were a couple of degrees in Development, though and a couple involving agriculture that probably have a heavy Zambian focus. Outside of those - not very much. No languages other than English. None of the native languages of Zambia -
    Bemba, Nyanja, Losi etc. I saw one Bachelor's in History, but I was unable to determine how much of the program related to Zambia.

    Most of the degrees will produce Zambian business people, bankers, doctors, nurses, teachers (many education programs) and people who work in agriculture, industry and the IT that supports all these activities. They need all those and I'm content to let Zambians have all those spots in the DL classroom. I can't see any reason for most of us to study in Zambia - unless we plan to live there. I'm through looking. But it was fun.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2020
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