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Only education is not enough: A necessitiy of all-inclusive services for technical education

Scientific Essay 2017 8 Pages

Pedagogy - Miscellaneous Topics

Excerpt

Introduction:-

The World Economic Forum's Global Talent Risk report (WEF, 2011) had cautioned that India would face huge skill deficits due to low employability1. In India, only about 14 percent of the labor force is employed in Formal jobs2. Other than initiatives like Smart City development, Skill India, Digital India, Start-up India, FDI enhancement, National Investment & Manufacturing zone, creation of Industrial Corridor will not only make India a global manufacturing hub but it will also generate a huge number of employment opportunities with growing Industrial demand3.According to NASSCOM (National Association of Software Companies), every year, over 3 million graduates and post-graduates are added to the Indian work force but only 25 per cent of technical graduates and 10-15 per cent of other graduates are considered employable by the industry. Education is a process of skill formation and in this aspect, it is treated at par with the process of capital formation.Education not only increases the productive skills of the individual but also his earning power. It gives learners a sense of wellbeing as well as capacity to absorb new ideas, increases his social interaction, gives access to improved health and provides several more intangible benefits4.

In the pastdecade, there has been a sharp increase in the number of private institutes as well asuniversities in India; higher education is continuing to expand, mostly in an unplannedmanner, without even minimum levels of checks and balances5.In India, as per the report of All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2014-2015, enrollment in Technical Education (approximately 30%) is the second largest among all higher education programs [40]. The Government of India encouraged the spread of Technical Education in last decade.Today it is reasonable to contend that the conceptualization and organization of academic work and the academic career structure no longer meet the educational and operational demands of the current environment and create many barriers to success6.The wide heterogeneity in quality of universities explains why only 25% of Indian engineering graduates are considered suitable for employment7. This is why the Indian National Assessment boards of Higher and Technical Education like NAAC and NBA have given weightages to the supporting and extension activities which are related to employability skills, for assessment of institutes with the academic and curriculum activities. As per National Assessment and Accreditation Council (2013), learning activities should have a visible element for developing sensitivities towards community issues, gender disparities, social inequity etc. and in inculcating values and commitment to society. Extension services also is the aspect of education, which emphasizes community services. These are often integrated with curricula as extended opportunities, intended to help, serve, reflect and learn. The curriculum-extension interface has an educational value, especially in rural India8.

Effective Quality Services:-

There is desperate need in India that ‘Higher Education should be guided through Service Quality concepts to achieve excellence’9.There is consensus in the research literature in higher education that studentsexhibit several different approaches to learning. Qualitative and quantitative studieshave confirmed a broad distinction between deep and surface approaches to learning10.

Bonnema and van der Wald grouped factors of a student market in higher education with the following labels: university, college, employability aspects, course content, student experience, sporting aspects, financial aspects, direct sources, media sources and social sources11.Reference12 define Quality in education from TQM perspective. They believe educational institution as an open system i.e. management system, a technical system and social system. It includes within it the quality of input in the form of students, faculty, supporting staff and infrastructure, the quality of processes in the form of the learning and teaching activity and the quality of outputs include examination results, employment, earning and satisfaction.Reference13 have briefly examined the various factors which affect the effectiveness of Technical Education and they have categorized them into seven major heads; Administration, Infrastructure, Teaching Effectiveness, Students, Interaction with Industry and Society, Extra-Curricular Activities, Research and Development.Reference14 explained five factor model of Service Quality in higher education. Among five factors, Administration, Student Safety, Faculty Communication, Facilities and Interpersonal Behavior of Faculty, they found faculty members’ communication was most important factor and has significant contribution for the overall satisfaction of the students.Service includes all the activities required to keep the product or service working effectively for the buyer after it is sold and delivered. Value based services should be delivered through; operating services, supporting services and extended activities based on Student Mentoring, Support Student Progression and Student Participation and Activities to enhance skills and ability development. Educational services are personal andcharacterized by intensive, intellectual, emotionaland/or physical participation of students in a serviceprocess. Services are often realized in a numberof steps, which, basically, constitute the very serviceprocess. Production and consumption of educationalservices take place simultaneously and students’participation in it is rather important. They evaluateservice quality, hence the shaping of the service process- detailed planning on how to provide a service- is vital to maintain (improve) educational servicequality. The process is so important that some authorsdescribe it as a real essence of service15.

Operating Services:-

Operating services are those activities which are required for delivering a service to the acceptance of service. Reference16 evidence in literature indicates that Continuing Professional Development of teachers is essential in creating effective colleges.Most scholars agree that the relationships between students and faculty are vital to student success in college17. Furthermore, Kuh et al. contend that faculty approachability and interaction can consist of many facets, including working with a faculty member on a research project, working with a faculty member on activities other than coursework (committees, program activities, etc.), discussing assignments and grades, and receiving prompt academic feedback on performance.In addition to that the adoption of Total Quality Management enhances credibility to meet the requirements of the faculty performance which leads to improve its competitive position among other similar academic institutions18.Audio-Visual aids are now common in conducting the education services19.Reference20 supports an interactive session focuses on participating in shifting the paradigm toward learner-centered curriculum delivery. Teaching and learning in TE is a shared process, with responsibilities on bothstudent and teacher to contribute to their success.Quality teaching and learning has broad horizons, taking place in a research-rich environment,where the subject matter is driven by the latest knowledge and research, delivered in a waywhich encourages students to develop academic literacy and both subject specific and genericskills which they can apply immediately in the real world.The application of educational technology enhances skills and cognitive characteristics with the explosion of learning and receiving new information, especially on mobile devices. The evolution and development of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) has resulted in a paradigm shift in the educational system. ICTs are changing the way people learn, offering new alternatives to the traditional classroom.ICTs have the capability of providing “personalized, just-in-time, up-to-date, and user-centered education activities”21.ICTs have encouraged new research and development in teaching and learning techniques.ICTs have the potential to drive innovative and effective ways of teaching-learning and research. The inclusion of learning tools, easier use of multimedia or simulation tools, easy and almost instant access to data and information in a digital form which allows for computations and data processing generates possibilities which were otherwise not feasible.

Supporting Services:-

An assistance required for successful execution of program or process or service is known as Supporting service. Reference22 found that students who feel at home, who are well connectedto fellow-students and teachers and who take part in extra-curricular activities aremore likely to graduate.The current education system lacks its focus on training young people in soft skills that can provide them with employment opportunities. As such, training in soft and employability skills is all the more relevant not least because the education system does not delve into personality development [1].Another factor that impacts persistence is what is known as business procedures orbureaucratic factors. It can best be defined as the interaction that occurs between the student andthe service providers at the institution23. For instance, common patterns of exchangesoccur between the student and various offices such as the business office, residence life, financialaid, departmental offices that define major requirements, social/athletic events, parkingmanagement, etc.A number of colleges and universities offer students a wide variety of services andresources intended to promote persistence by providing academic assistance24.Most of the academic support services aretutoring centers which offer academic assistance in a variety of areas, such as speaking, writing,and mathematics.Reference25 reported that academicresources such as these supporting services produced statistically significant positive impacts on student persistence.According to reference26, college students must be actively involved and engaged in theirsurroundings if they are expected to learn and grow while attending college. While it is importantfor students to be academically involved and engaged, reference27 contends that is alsoimportant for students to become involved and engaged in other areas of college life, such ascampus organizations, activities, athletic events, etc.Reference28 suggested constantcollaborative activities between professors and student support services, such as theincorporation of support services or other supportive resources into class curriculum, class visitsto support centers, or simply encouragement to take advantage of support services, promotedstudent involvement and subsequent connectivity.Reference29 explains that asuniversities provided programs and delivered benefits exceed the charged fees, students would have a high senseof satisfaction.Reference30 discusses the evolution of web services and describes how services such asfee payment, parking renewal, registration, career services, and personal counseling, as supporting services.

Extension Services:-

Motivation and students’ approaches to learning are dynamically related to each other31. One important factor which affects students’ persistence is that of being socially integrated and connected with others, especially other students. Education or an Institute, for most students, is not only a time of academic pursuits but also an opportunity to explore or enhance themselves as social beings. In fact, while some students desire to finish college, they do not consider themselves to be ultra-academic beings and instead want to partake in endeavors that develop them socially32.Reference33 detected academic and social integration to be influential on study performance. They also distinguish four concepts in academic integration: academic-, social-, personal- & emotional adjustment and attachment.Greatest importance needs to be attached to extension work, as a learning and development instrument, for the benefit of community through students and teachers34.

Students satisfaction:-

Reference35 define satisfaction as a state felt by a person who has experienced performance or an outcome that fulfill his or her expectation. Satisfaction is a function of relative level of expectations and it perceives performance. Satisfaction is also perceived as the intentional performance which results in one’s contentment36.Consumers, such as students, usually make a purchase decision based on their own valuation of the marketingefforts. However, their satisfaction is based on their evaluation of the products or services utilized and whether ornot their expectations or needs were met37. Educational institutions use certain methodologies to determine the level of their students’ satisfaction regarding the services and programs they offer to better fulfill student needs and satisfy student aspirations38.If the higher education sector knows aboutthe factors that improve students’ perception of satisfaction, it will can provide better services as well asimproving existing ones. To gain competitive advantage, reference39 recommenduniversities to highlight the strategic importance of social values gained by students when joining them. Moreover,they argued that universities must demonstrate how they provide support to their students’objectives achievement. Basically, this would affect the students’ perception of satisfaction hence the university’scompetitiveness. Several factors influence students’ level of satisfaction as well as their achievement and absorptioncapacity.To deliver knowledge with quality effectively, teaching methods by instructors,as well as the related supporting services, are two critical elements39.Determining and assessing students’satisfaction with their educationalexperiences is not so easy, but can be veryhelpful for the institutes to build strongrelationship with their existing and potentialstudents.

Conceptual Framework From Literature Review:-

(Fig 1: All-inclusive Service Model for Technical Education, Self-Creation through Literature Review)

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Research Methodology:-

The objective of this research was to find out students’ perceptions and experience on services offered by the TE institutes and to find out relation between satisfaction and the services experienced. A qualitative research through a survey was made. It comprised of a structured questionnaire sent through e-mail to the current-students enrolled and passed-out students (alumni) belonging to the technical institutes affiliated to North Maharashtra University. Sample size (n) was calculated at 95% Confidence Level for which Standard Normal Variate (Z) is 1.96 & at Standard Error (e) of 0.03 by n=Z2 (p)(1-p)/e2 ; where n = Sample Size to be used for this study, N = unknown population, p = Estimated Portion of Population N. For p = 90%, ‘n’ comes out to be 553. However, sample size of 664 was selected by quota sampling from technical institutes offering different programs in engineering, pharmacy and management & different students (Current as well Post-students/Alumni) based on their location of native place, gender. The questionnaire comprised structured and closed ended questions measuring different services offered by TE Institute and its’ relation with the satisfaction of decision of selection of TE institute were sent through E-mail. Responses were obtained through a google form on a scale ranging from 0 to 5, where value zero islow weightage and value five ishigh weightage. The characteristics of the sample is described as below;

By Gender: Male: 454;Female: 210

By Native Place: District: 162; Taluka: 283; Village: 219

By Technical Educational Program: Engineering: 492; Pharmacy: 113; Management: 59

Data Interpretation And Findings:-

illustration not visible in this excerpt

It is revealed that students’ satisfaction is associated with the services offered by the Institutes with p=0.000 which is significant at p<0.05 and approximate F-value=3.310, conducted by statistical software, Minitab 17, calculated by MANOVA - General Linear Model with Wilk’s method. The students responded that they experience best services of Infrastructure and Technology (Mean=3.6), Faculty and Teaching Learning Methods (Mean=3.63) of the institutes wherein they are enrolled. However, their satisfaction for selection of TE Institute is highly associated with Campus Placements (F-value= 23.36, PLC= 0.309), Co & Extra-Curricular Activities (F-value= 18.98, PLC= 0.281), Industry Interactions and Tie-ups (F-value= 19.03, PLC= 0.279), and Campus and Social Life (F-value= 18.18, PLC= 0.267)of Institute wherein they are enrolled.

It is observed that Institutes are concentrating on operating services more than the supporting services and extension services. However, students’ satisfaction is more associated with the supporting activities and extension activities than operating activities.

Conclusion:-

According to former Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh - ‘The time has come tocreate a second wave of institution building and of excellence in the fields of education,research and capability building’. We need an educational system that is modern, liberal andcan adapt to the changing needs of a changing society, a changing economy and a changingworld.Infosys, an IT giant, last year sorted through 1.3 million applicants only to find that aroundtwo percent were qualified for jobs. Employability services can play a big role to help both institutes and their students to understand and evaluate their job readiness and work constructively to fix the lean points.Industry and Academia connect is necessary toensure curriculum and skills development of students are in line with requirements. (knowledge + global professional skills = good jobs).We live in a world that requires the combination of different skills and knowledge sets for increasing success and competitiveness,TE leaders must work with all constituent services to forge the best possible strategic services to recruit, develop, retain, to produce employable graduate students and to assist them for placements and further career path. Educational services can be driven on Five Pillars; make it easy, make it relevant, make it fresh, manage it, measure it. Such services should impart social, moral, integrity, character, spirituality and many more as it builds the qualities of humility, strength and honesty in a student. These sets of services should lead to purity of heartsand sincerity too. Education services must extend relationship with the world. In the next few decades, India will probably have theworld’s largest set of young people. Even as othercountries begin to age, India will remain a country ofyoung people. If the proportion of working population tototal population increases by delivering employable services and skill developments services, Indiawill find productive job opportunities for such a workingpopulation and that would give India a big opportunity toleapfrog in the race for social and economic developmentand as a result growth rates would go up. No. doubt!

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Title: Only education is not enough: A necessitiy of all-inclusive services for technical education