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Higher Education 2016-10-04

What students expect from higher education institutions

With increasing number of students wanting to pursue higher education in India, students look out for certain factors while applying at higher educational institutes. It may seem obvious, but given the amount of time each application can take up, it’s impo...

What students expect from higher education institutions

India’s higher education segment is the largest in the world. In 2014, with 29.63 million students and approximately 48,116 colleges and institutions, it is expected to increase to $ 37.8 billion by 2020. The Government of India has planned to provide enhanced access to higher education by creating two million additional seats for each age group, in the 12th Five-Year Plan.

There is said to be a greater demand for higher education in India especially in the rural parts of India. And, why not? Education is considered by many to be a great equaliser that has the potential to narrow down the opportunity gaps between those who belong to privileged backgrounds and the rest. It also brings about upward social and economic mobility. Therefore, it is unsurprising and indeed quite pleasing to know that a larger number of young Indians are seeking college education than ever before. Parents too are keen that their children go to college. Further, students along with their parents are prepared to spend more on education as is evident from the impressive growth in enrolment, now at over 60 per cent of the total, at relatively more expensive private institutions.

With increasing number of students wanting to pursue higher education in India, students look out for certain factors while applying at higher educational institutes. It may seem obvious, but given the amount of time each application can take up, it’s important to think carefully about where you really want to apply. Let us have a look at what students look for and the factors they consider while zeroing down on a higher educational institute:

Quality Education + Skills

Nowadays many students graduating from colleges and universities are left with no jobs or are left unemployed due to lack of skills required by the industry. This is the condition of our institutes which do not provide meaningful and requisite knowledge. The quality of education on offer at a majority of higher-education institutes is so poor that it leaves students with worthless degrees in hand and quite lacking in the skills and knowledge that are required to secure meaningful employment in the new economy.

Specialised Focus

According to Aditi, an alumnus of IIM-Indore, “A B-school brand is very important. Also, the specialisation for which the institute is famous should coincide with your area of interest. For example: XLRI, Jamshedpur is known for HR courses. Similarly, IIM-Kolkata is famous for finance field. Previous year placements is another category to be scrutinised before setting down to fill up applications of various B-schools.”

Fees

Fees is considered as another important factor while applying for an institute as many higher education institutes today demand a very high price for education. In India, there is a great dilemma on financing of higher education. Many students take education loans to finance their education. In India, people find this undesirable as they cannot afford to be burdened with such huge loans.

Heavy debt would result in higher education being seen more as capital investment. It would lead to the clear graduation objective of getting a quick return on investment. The net result would be that graduates would opt for safe career options — even more than they currently do — that provide the “highest package” and not those choices that may be low-paying but have greater social value and impact and which the graduate may genuinely want to pursue. The success of Make in India as well as Start-Up India depends on the ability of young people to take risks and become entrepreneurs. Heavy education loans are unlikely to promote these choices.

Campus Placements

The main motto of students applying to a higher education institute is getting into a good organisation offering a good pay package which can easily let them pay back the loan taken for education and afford a life they desire. This is basically served by the companies that visit the institute for campus placements.

According to Gursimran Singh Ahuja, a student at FORE School of Management, “B-school ranking is the first and foremost factor needed to be considered before starting to apply for admissions. Placements or put it as ROI (return on investment) is another important factor where one evaluates the fee structure and average placements to pay off any education loan.”

Infrastructure

Colleges / Institutes with good infrastructure and good facilities attract more students. Primarily classes are held at any time of the day or night with students staying up late thereafter for preparation. Such an environment requires a 24X7 cafeteria, neat and clean hostels, laundry service, WiFi connectivity etc for effective working environment.

Distance and location

Kilometers travelled to reach the place of study counts a lot before applying. Students usually apply to the institutes based in the same city where they reside for its convenience. If the institute happens to be far in another city or abroad, students need to consider many other things like funds required, stay, travel expenses etc. This limits the number of institutes before applying.

Location of institutes also matters a lot. Proximity to metro stations, malls and market is another important area before getting a thumbs up.

Hostel facility

If the institute applied for is situated in a city other than the resident city, hostel facility is preferred by students. Thus, building and maintaining hostels is a must for good institutes. In the modern age, hostels should include air-conditioning, WiFi connectivity for a good study experience, cafeteria, laundry service and other basic necessities.

Faculty

Experienced and renowned teaching faculty is what makes an institute fare better over others. The contributions made by teachers in the lives of business professionals prove to be the cornerstone of their growth. Hiring such faculty is very effective for an institute as if affects the number of student applications also.

Thus, educational institutes should consider the factors above and work on them in order to attract more student applications which alternatively would also improve its ranking and build a positive and strong image of the brand.

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