Certificate, diploma, degree
Tell anyone this: “Hey, I’ve just got an engineering certificate” – chances are, no one bothers. So what? However, if you tell the same bunch of people that you have an engineering degree, they’d go “Wow, you’re so clever” or something along that line.
First, let’s look at the definitions (compiled from a few dictionaries):
- certificate (n.) = an official document stating that a particular fact is true
- diploma (n.) = a qualification awarded by colleges, universities and selected schools upon successful completion of a course
- degree (n.) = a higher-level qualification traditionally awarded by universities only, but now even colleges award them.
From these definitions, it is evident that a diploma and a degree are actually certificates because they are official documents to show that you have gained the skill and knowledge in the course that you have taken. Therefore, what is wrong if someone has an engineering certificate? It could well be a degree in engineering!!
Malaysians, especially, are too status-conscious. Anything “low” is not good, which explains why the word “certificate” means nothing much to many of us. If you look at the broader picture – and if you know your vocabulary like the back of your hand – you’ll feel comfortable using the word “certificate“.
Hmm… perhaps someone should start a Degree in Marriage course to make marriages more valuable. 😀 – maybe there is one!!