Lumina study

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Monday, March 10, 2014


THE conversation on the K-12 implementation has long been ended. And the Asean Integration in 2015 is inevitable.

As if the academic institutions hereabouts are not yet feeling like headless chicken running around, now come the results of the recent Gallup survey about higher education.

The survey was composed of the 2013 Lumina study of the American
public’s and business leaders’ poll on higher education, with focus
on how well US schools are preparing their students to succeed in the workplace.

Respondents to the survey were chief academic officers of educational institutions, representatives of the American public and business leaders.

And the results showed a wide yawning gap. Ninety-six percent of the chief academic officers said the schools were doing a good job in preparing their students with the necessary skills and competencies to succeed at work.

Contrarily, the vote of confidence was way, way low from the other respondents--14 percent from the American public, and 11 percent from the business leaders.

Conducted in November and December last year, the survey included 628 business leaders and over a thousand public citizens.

Understandably, the chief academic officers attempted to explain the disparity in results. The respondents’ perspectives were dissimilar, they said.

While the schools’ self-ratings were based on how well they had attended to their individual students, the other respondents were thinking about everyone who had not had the chance to attend college.

Be that as it may, still much more corroborating data surfaced. One finding was that not only did many students find difficulty in landing jobs, but also that they were struggling to keep up in the workplace.

Another was that the applicant’s competence in knowledge and skills were the primary determinants in hiring decisions.

These findings reinforced similar findings of previous studies. What the educational institutions were not prepared for, however, was the importance of the school the applicants graduated from.

And the finding was that the alma mater no longer mattered. This certainly struck a dagger into recruiters whose preference has been for bigname institutions. Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation that sponsored the survey, thus believed that there’s a message in there--“the colleges aren’t doing a good enough
job of showing how their graduates develop and what they bring to the table.”

There’s also a boost for providers of online education. Half of the business leaders surveyed showed a warming up to online education graduates.

They said they would most likely hire applicants with online degrees than those with “traditional” degrees, meaning those obtained from academic institutions.

Faced with the study’s findings, Merisotis concluded, “The monopoly’s over. Learning has been democratized.” He was once a non-believer in online education.

Moreover, the respondents believed that while higher education was “available,” only one-fourth concluded it was “affordable.”

There and here, as schools prepare for the next opening of classes, their thoughts will not only be on relevance, but also on quantity, quality, credibility, affordability, and viability. (lelani.echaves@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 10, 2014.

Opinion

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