Students call for more practical courses

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first_imgCareer-orientated education, paid apprenticeships and employer-run courses were among the most common innovation suggestions offered by the students. (Image: Media Club South Africa)It has been established that the vast majority of students across the globe favour courses that equip them with practical knowledge that can be applied in their various fields of study and bridge the gap between a learning environment and a working one.This was discovered after a global index compiled by Laureate International Universities and Zogby Analytics was released earlier this year.South African students echoed the sentiments of their global counterparts, with 97% of those surveyed agreeing that universities should offer them an opportunity to take on educated entrepreneurial and leadership roles in society.Monash South Africa (MSA), which has been a partner and a part of the Laureate International Universities network since 2013, conducted the survey at their campus in order to provide the global contingent with statistics representing the opinions of local students.Chief executive officer of both MSA and Africa Operations Laureate International Universities, Esther Benjamin, says, “This survey is part of an ongoing dialogue with students to address their needs and empower them with skills relevant to South African and global markets.“As strong student outcomes are of the utmost importance, it is vital that we are able to respond to the needs of our students as well as the employment market.”The survey was compiled using the responses of some 23 000 Laureate students and more than 4,000 non-Laureate students across 22 countries.The survey has offered some insight into the attitudes of students towards tertiary institutions and also provides information that will allow such institutions to tweak their courses in order to cater to the needs of their students.The survey also revealed that, along with having an entrepreneurial mind-set, just over 76% of the South African students that took part in the survey felt innovation is an important part of the university curriculum, 10% higher than the global trend.Career-orientated education, paid apprenticeships and employer-run courses were among the most common innovation suggestions offered by the students.Emphasising the importance of providing great education, Benjamin said, “In an increasingly competitive job market, students not only want their educators to provide them with skills, but with a reliable bridge into employment”.This proved to be a priority both locally and globally with 93% of the students saying universities should work closely with employers to ensure the content covered in the courses is practical and applicable in the working world.This adds to the call for corporate South Africa to get involved in the education of their future employees.93% of the students who took part in the survey said that universities should work closely with employers to ensure the content covered in the courses is practical and applicable in the working world. (Image: Media Club South Africa)FEEL GOOD FACTORAnother interesting trend the survey revealed was the general intention to “do good” among students with more than 85% of them seeing the need to apply their skills for social and environmental purposes.Eighty-eight percent of South African students wanted to empower those less fortunate and 89% were concerned with protecting the environment.“This trend is clearly visible in MSA’s focus on corporate social responsibility initiatives, many of which are initiated and led by the students themselves,” says Benjamin.“This year, the global “Here for Good” award, which recognises the social impact of students from across the Laureate network, was won by one of our South African students, Lebo Sekhotla for her education initiative for local school learners.”Watch Lebo Nnoi Patience Sekhotla, Laureate’s 2015 Here for Good Award winner:EDUCATION IS KEYMore than 75% of the students who took part in the survey thought their courses would better equip them with the skills to succeed as professionals.This coupled with the majority of the students believing that career prospects will look better for students in the future, indicates that students look to high quality education to differentiate themselves in future.“Access to quality higher education is a catalyst for transforming lives and societies,” said Douglas L. Becker, the founder, chairman and CEO of Laureate Education.“Meeting students’ expectations and delivering on a promise to provide them with the skills to meet their career aspirations should be the goals of every university.”last_img

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