In many colleges and universities in the United States and globally, the computer science program is offered to students to prepare them to the identification of computational challenges in all spheres of contemporary life, as well as to designing, implementing, and analyzing algorithmic solutions, and development of software for a multiplicity of applications (University of Kentucky, 2013).
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The program provides graduates with manifold job openings, especially in research establishments, government departments, technology, and software development firms, as well as institutions of higher learning.
However, although vocational institutions have contributed immensely to ensuring that qualified individuals enroll into the various programs under the computer science flagship to facilitate skilled manpower and enhance technical productivity, they are yet to be at par with universities in terms of providing quality programs in computer science.
A computer science program at the university level requires students to have cumulative knowledge in the core facets of the program, hence qualified high school students and transfer students with the required number of hours can join the program. With the right level of qualification as per the university regulations, students can join the program as freshmen or as sophomores.
This is different in colleges which offer a two-year associate degree in computer science, as many of them are forced to enroll students with limited experiences and educational backgrounds arising from poor student preparation (Richmond, 1989). However, such students could still transfer to the universities of their choice to pursue the program if they fulfill the set course and institutional requirements successfully.
When discussing the benefits, it is evident that students who pursue the program in university settings receive more quality education than their counterparts in colleges, especially in the context of availability of courses in new and emerging areas of computer science, adequate infrastructure, and cutting-edge equipment, opportunity to be taught by highly-qualified instructors, and adequate financial resources (Goel, n.d.).
The benefits accruing to colleges entail low educational costs and short time needed to complete the program.
In terms of noted differences, it is evident that most colleges are constrained by faculty resources and lack of qualified instructors to provide a quality computer science program (Richmond, 1989), not mentioning that some colleges are unable to meet their set objectives in training qualified individuals for lack of specialization and flexibility in admitting students who have not achieved the minimum grade points (Major, 2014).
The issues that colleges are facing the need to be addressed to enable the colleges to be at par with universities in the provision of quality computer science programs. Because this program is resource-intensive (Richmond, 1989), colleges need to be facilitated by relevant government agencies to access more financial resources to implement adequate infrastructure, purchase cutting-equipment for training, and attract qualified instructors.
This will guarantee that students in vocational institutions can get quality education in computer science, hence contribute immensely to enhancing technical productivity, filling the gap in skilled manpower, and promoting quality of life (Goel, n.d).
Additionally, quality in the computer science program cannot be secured if some colleges continue to enroll students with low grades and insufficient competency levels.
Because this program is quite demanding in terms of education, skills, and competencies, colleges need to develop and implement strategies that will ensure that only those who qualify are enrolled into the program (Goel, n.d). Additionally, issues of lack of specialization, inflexible curriculum, and lack of equivalence for employment purposes need to be addressed by colleges to develop the capacity to offer a quality computer science program.
In conclusion, it is evident from the discussion that, unlike universities, vocational colleges lack most of the critical components needed to ensure quality in the computer science program. To facilitate skilled manpower and enhance technical productivity not only in the country but also globally, the solutions discussed in this paper need to be implemented by colleges, particularly about the provision of the computer science program.
University of Kentucky. (2013). Computer Science. Retrieved from: http://www.uky.edu/registrar/Major-Sheets/MSCurrent/eng/cs.pdf
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Goel, V.P. (n.d.). Technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system in India for sustainable development. Retrieved from: http://www.unevoc.unesco.org/up/India_Country_Paper.pdf
Major: Computer Science. (2014). Bigfuture. Retrieved from: https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/majors/computer-information-sciences-computer-science
Richmond, E.R. (1989). Software engineering education in the associate-degree-level vocational/technical computer science program. CIS Educator Forum, 2(3), pp. 13-18. Retrieved from: http://jise.org/Volume02/Pdf/v2n3-p13.pdf