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October - 2010 - issue > CEO Spotlight
Treating-your-student-like-a-customer
Babu Thiagarajan
Friday, October 1, 2010
This might as well be the title of a hit reality TV show for such are the trends shaping the education industry around the world today. The transformation of educational delivery systems and the business of education on the whole have been remarkable, both for the student as well as all the stakeholders involved in the process. Moving away from traditional campus based education- online learning has opened new avenues for the employed, and individuals constrained by time, to further their careers. The perception and recognition of online courses in India might not be as high as in some of the western countries, but then, how far behind can India be in this global age?

But, newer methods of education and the options that they bring create a whole new set of challenges to the established order. Student communication, course governance, student attrition, and measuring satisfaction will become the top issues facing schools with a geographically distributed student populace. These were also, some of the biggest problems faced by QuScient’s higher education clients in the U.S. and UK. In these countries a student is provided with the option of transferring to another school if they were unhappy with the current school, and while doing so, take their course credits and funding along with them. There were also the problems of dropouts. When this happened the loss assumes multiple significances as: the schools lost the money they invested in attracting the student, the course fees, and the schools also took a beating on their attrition rates. With federal regulations putting underperforming schools and schools with high attrition under the scanner, most schools, especially the smaller ones, admitted that they faced 30 – 50 percent attrition issues but were never able to identify the reasons.

How long before schools in India face the same issues? Number portability is a reality; is it safe to assume that school credit transfers will be just around the corner? Schools and colleges need to take a holistic view of their student problems. The right way forward would be student relationship management systems – know your students and anticipate their needs. Keep up with your students.

Babu Thiagarajan, is the Founder and CEO of QuScient Technologies

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