Top Risks Facing Educational Institutions (and How to Manage Them)

Read this article to know about the top risks that face the educational institutes of today. Know how to identify them and how you manage them from reducing the reputation and quality of your institute.

Schools, universities and colleges have a lot to think about: teaching quality, student welfare, curriculums, to name but a few. It is easy to get caught up in these aspects of managing an educational institution and overlook some of the other risks that exist.

Like any other type of organisation, educational institutions face a range of risks. Failing to recognise and address these risks can cause a range of problems, from minor to serious issues. Here are the key risks that education institutions should be aware of.

1. Health and Hygiene

Health and hygiene are both critically important in the education sector, and ignoring these areas leaves institutions open to grave risks. Poor health and hygiene standards in schools and universities can cause greater illness, damaging learning outcomes. Poor health and hygiene is also a reputation that you do not for your institution. Luckily, hygiene solutions in the education sector, as explained by PHS Group are relatively easy to implement. Key actions to ensure high health and hygiene standards are: great cleaning systems especially for bathrooms, monitoring indoor air quality, and ensuring waste collection and disposal is maintained to a high standard.

2. Declining Enrolments

One area that every educational institution must always pay attention to is enrolments. Declining enrolments may put the institution at risk of going into debt, having to cut courses or services, or having to close entirely. In the UK, Brexit has led to a drop in the number of EU students enrolling in British universities, with the country's top research universities reporting a reversal in EU student numbers. There are several ways educational institutions can address this risk. Universities, in particular, can look to emerging overseas markets to find more students, such as India, South East Asia, and Africa. Schools, universities and colleges can also introduce new campus facilities and unique services to set themselves apart and encourage more enrolments.

3. Regulatory Compliance

Like many sectors, education is subject to a number of rules and regulations. These regulations can represent substantial risks, as failure to comply can result in substantial fines and penalties, and may even lead to the shutdown of the institution if the breach is serious enough. All schools in the UK are subject to statutory guidance set down by the Department of Education, with similar official guidelines applying to colleges and universities. These regulations cover areas such as admissions, curriculum, student welfare, behaviour management, and staff employment. It is imperative that all educational institutions are well versed in all relevant regulations and keep up to date with all changes.

4. Reputation and Negative Press

The modern media context is one where media outlets are driven by the 24/7 news cycle to find more and more stories, and where negative stories get the most attention. This has created an environment where the education and other sectors are at risk of being subject to negative news stories, true or fabricated. This represents a reputation risk: damage to an institution's reputation can hurt enrolments, as well as damaging relationships with alumni, business partners, and others. It is important that schools and universities work to maintain a good relationship through positive and proactive PR, as well as troubleshooting any negative stories.

5. Financial Risks

Educational institutions are very different from companies in many ways. However, like businesses, they also need to be able to generate adequate revenue. While a business needs revenue to make a profit, a school or university needs to make money in order to deliver its services. Even though the institution is not trying to make money as such, this still requires a high degree of financial management to ensure that the books are balanced, that there is adequate cash flow for your needs, and that your institution has enough funds to fund not only essential services but extras as well. Fail to do this and the institution could be put under financial stress and may even be forced to close entirely.

6. Operational Risks

Educational institutions can range from small schools or colleges to large universities. In all cases, there is a complex operational picture that needs to be taken care of. Operations involve coordinating class schedules, staff management, processes and procedures, and various systems. In order for the institution to function well and be able to deliver its educational objectives, all of these operational aspects need to run effectively and efficiently. Operational issues can represent a huge risk to schools, colleges, and universities: inefficient processes cost money, affecting the bottom line, and poor systems and underperforming staff can damage educational outcomes.


Author: Sharada29 Jan 2020 Member Level: Gold   Points : 3

Vigilance- This is also a key factor in educational institutions. The management has to keep an eye on the whereabouts of students, teachers and visitors from time to time. Every moment is captured in CCTV nowadays. The management has to spread its responsibilities to various departments which in turn help in monitoring on a daily basis with regular reports.

Author: Umesh10 Feb 2020 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 6

In today's environment the educational units or institutions are like business units which have to raise their own finances through fees or sometimes donations from the philanthropists. In that scenario running an institution professionally as a business is required and makes a sense also. Today, there are many challenges in the field of education and a good institution is supposed to mitigate them in the best possible manner.

One of the major challenges in my view today is the mushrooming of a large number of educational institutions in our country which has created a big capacity and there are dangers of underutilisation of same looming over our heads. We would not have been worried if these institutions were more of skill acquisition type rather than the academic one but unfortunately, that is not happening today. So the institutions have to take a call on that and try to design some of the courses in that line also which is more to the trade and technical side.

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