There might have been a time when a degree was treated with a much greater deal of respect than a diploma — which was why most students regarded diploma courses with suspicion. On the whole, diploma courses were seen as the refuge of those who didn’t have the qualifications to get into a top-notch college. They were also considered to be a risk, since the chances of getting a job with a diploma in hand weren’t as certain as with a degree.
However, this notion seems to be changing now. This is especially the case in artistic fields, which are a relatively new segment of the educational space. Students with diplomas get placed with good companies and don’t seem to face any discrimination at the workplace. But does that mean that diplomas are now treated on par with a degree? Metrolife speaks to a few Bangaloreans to find out.
Yathindra Lakkana, a professor at the National Institute of Fashion Design, feels that the usefulness of a diploma depends entirely on the kind of job a student is looking for.
He says, “In terms of a private-sector job, it isn’t going to matter in the least. Here, it’s the deliverables that count — such as whether a person can perform or not. This is the base for creative media and fields like advertisement, design, jewellery and fabric,” he states.
However, he admits that if a student is keen to get a government job, a diploma might present some problems. “If someone wants to become a teacher or enter the government sector, they need a degree,” he says.
In other industries, this distinction might not be so clear. Abraham, a professor at Baldwin Women’s Methodist College, feels that when it comes to fields like banking, a degree is vital. “Not having a degree can pose problems during the time of placement as well as later, when an employee is looking at getting promoted,” he says.
He feels that diplomas, when compared to degrees, are more practice-oriented. “That’s why in creative fields, having a diploma is a good idea. But it isn’t the same for banking or the IT sector,” he adds.
But Varun, who works in the IT field, doesn’t feel that the matter can be looked at in such a cut-and-dry fashion. “At the end of the day, how far ahead you get in a company depends on your performance — your qualifications are looked at largely only when you join,” he says. He also feels that more than the degree-diploma question, companies look at the college the student has graduated from. “Look at IIM graduates — they only have diplomas and recruiters can’t get enough of them. There are a variety of factors that have to be taken into account apart from the question of degree versus diploma,” he sums up.