Enabling educational excellence through market-driven teaching practices


When schools and colleges understand what exactly is required by any market, they will tend to be compulsorily market-driven. Students and parents, as a rule, expect extremely high standards of teaching and job-orientation. It is gratifying to note that there are a good number of colleges in India that are increasingly adopting such strategies to become branded colleges. In this article, we will discuss such experiences in selected schools and colleges.

Introduction

What exactly is being market-driven? It is simple. It just means that the schools deliver what exactly the market wants. This market is made up of students and their parents. In this market, there are other important stakeholders, namely, the teachers and the management. Together, all stakeholders strive for excellence. The feedback from parents is also taken quite seriously in the schools. The teachers in schools and faculty members in these colleges are not only paid well, but they are also continuously made to surpass their own set standards of excellence. This is often called "raising the bar". And it starts happening as a routine.

This phenomenon can be analyzed with specific reference to a) Category of institutions b) The geographic spread of institutions c) Extremely high career choices for students and d) Innovation in all benchmarks for educational excellence.

Category of institutions

This has happened to institutions throughout the country. Take the example of deemed Universities. The Vellore Institute of Technology at Vellore and the SRM University at Chennai now have campuses in other States as well. They have not only expanded their reach but have continuously raised their standards of excellence. The placement facilities in these two institutions are world-class. They are able to attract the best of students from across the country and they never have a problem of vacant seats, the one big problem that has turned out to be a nightmare for many colleges in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh that did not make any effort to raise their standards. For one, these Universities have paid their teachers extremely well. The teachers are also encouraged to present papers at international conferences. These Universities have encouraged their students to come out with good innovative products that have grabbed international attention. This is exactly how they have made being market-driven as a sort of routine.

The geographic spread of institutions

Whatever teaching and other methods have been mentioned earlier are not specific only to the two deemed Universities referred to above. They are sort of a basic minimum template that is followed by other such institutions in other parts of the country as well. The students who belong to the specific parts of particular States prefer to study in the local deemed Universities. For example, those in Coimbatore and the neighboring Kerala State would rather study for their engineering in the Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham that has campuses in Coimbatore and in Kerala itself.

When one goes up North, both VIT and SRM have to contend with the fact that Amity Universityat New Delhi and the Symbiosis Internationalthat lords over most of Western India, would also attract the best of students. They have high standards for the MBA course, in particular, and their brand equity is so good that they often figure among the best twenty B-schools in the country. For instance, for the PG Degree in Human Resources Management, Symbiosis University has a separate school of excellence.

That is not all. The Gandhi Institute of Technology and Mangement(GITAM) has campuses in Hyderabad, Bangalore and in Vishakapatnam. It is also market-driven and the students of Andhra Pradesh would rather study in GITAM itself. Hence, there is a good and healthy competition in being market-driven and in attracting the best of students in these Universities. It is another fact of life that a relatively new deemed to be University like the Lovely Professional Univesity in Punjab is also making waves. The teachers are paid high salaries and the branding of the institution is quite good, given the fact that the University is not as old as the VIT and SRM Universities.

Extremely high career choices for students

The Christ Univesity at Bangalore offers the B.Com degree with a dual focus on the students completing the prestigious CIMA qualification that is extremely good for international careers in finance. The two branded colleges, namely the Manipal University at Manipal, an educational hub for a variety of courses. In fact, a massive number of students from all over the world study here. NRI parents, in particular, are very much wedded to this institution that has extremely high standards.

And when it comes to the best of jobs with the highest salaries for even graduates of conventional courses and the perfect ecosystem to become the best of social scientists, the two colleges at New Delhi, St.Stephens College and the Lady Shri Ram College for Women, deserve special mention. The likes of the famous historian and sociologist, Dr. Ramachandra Guha owe their present stature to their education in the prestigious St.Stephen's college. An entire army of Civil Servants and experts have also graduated from these colleges. Ms. Gita Gopinath, Director of IMF's research department, is an alumnus of Lady Shri Ram College for Women, New Delhi.

Innovation in all benchmarks for educational excellence

It is unfortunate that at the school level, cramming to secure the magical 100% marks is a craze throughout India. It is not restricted only to urban pockets. The parents literally look for all areas of India and then compulsorily put their children through such a drill. For example, they will make their ward study in the prestigious campus of Anna University at Guindy, Chennai, and this would ensure that the career of the son or daughter is taken care of, with the best of placements.

Result? The town of Rasipuram, near Salem, comes to one's mind. There are quite a number of cramming mills in this town. The innovation is centered around getting the best of result-oriented teachers who enable the students to score the highest marks in the CBSE and the State Board examinations. They are easily "market-driven" and are relevant for the single-minded objective of the centum marks in the core subjects of physics, chemistry, and biology, or mathematics.

Conclusion

The results are there for all to see. Each of the branded institutions discussed above, have something special in them with innovation in their DNA and hence go from strength to strength. They are spread throughout India but are positively not merely educational institutions. They are the best in their domains, producing what exactly the students and their parents want at any point in time. Their market-driven standards of excellence are obviously benchmarks for other institutions and this is a good feature as well.


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