Mak­ing In­formed Higher Ed­u­ca­tion Choices for 2018

Ter­tiary learn­ing re­quires a pro­fes­sional ap­proach with a per­sonal touch

The Star Early Edition - - NEWS -

THERE are few qual­i­fi­ca­tions that have the same po­ten­tial to un­lock doors to a flour­ish­ing ca­reer than a univer­sity de­gree, ac­cord­ing to Pro­fes­sor Al­wyn Louw, Pres­i­dent of Monash South Africa (MSA).

He adds, "Can­di­dates with higher ed­u­ca­tion are widely known to have a ccess to broad em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties, are able to de­mand higher salaries, and en­joy en­hanced po­ten­tial for pro­mo­tion. With that in mind, whether you are a school leaver be­gin­ning your ter­tiary stud­ies, or a pro­fes­sional want­ing to fur­ther them, the choice of which ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion to at­tend can be as im­por­tant as the de­ci­sion of what to study.

"Find­ing the univer­sity that is the right fit with your per­sonal goals, study pref­er­ences and time sched­ule is a key de­ter­mi­nant of your even­tual study suc­cess."

Prof Louw em­pha­sises that a ter­tiary qual­i­fi­ca­tion is about far more than a de­gree cer­tifi­cate at the end of one's stud­ies, “The jour­ney to suc­cess in your cho­sen field be­gins on the first day you step onto cam­pus, and the value you ul­ti­mately de­rive from your stud­ies de­pends, in large part, on se­lect­ing the learn­ing in­sti­tu­tion that best meets your needs and al­lows you to de­velop as a per­son and a pro­fes­sional.”

Fully un­der­stand­ing the im­por­tance of choos­ing the right ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion for your ma­tric­u­lat­ing child, or for your­self if you are a pro­fes­sional want­ing to study, is the first vi­tal step in en­sur­ing the best learn­ing out­comes.

He high­lights the fact that de­mand for places in South African ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions mas­sively out­strips sup­ply. Con­se­quently, many uni­ver­si­ties and cour­ses are very crowded, which can re­sult in in­di­vid­ual stu­dents be­ing over­whelmed and feel­ing like lit­tle more than a stu­dent num­ber.

“This lack of per­sonal at­ten­tion can be a sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier to op­ti­mum learn­ing out­comes,” he ex­plains. “It is why MSA de­lib­er­ately ad­heres to an op­er­at­ing model that pri­ori­tises qual­ity over quan­tity and fo­cuses on giv­ing each stu­dent the stu­dent-cen­tric ex­pe­ri­ence and per­sonal at­ten­tion needed to fos­ter the sense of be­long­ing, se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity on which ex­cel­lent re­sults are typ­i­cally founded.”

It is, he adds, im­por­tant to find a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion that of­fers for­ward-think­ing cur­ric­ula, cre­ated and de­liv­ered by highly qual­i­fied aca­demics and that en­sure grad­u­ates have the knowl­edge and skills to con­trib­ute to lo­cal and global eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

A truly valu­able ter­tiary qual­i­fi­ca­tion is one that cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties for the grad­u­ate to de­liver a real and last­ing im­pact on his or her em­ployer, in­dus­try and, even, coun­try,” he says.

“This means that the choice of ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion should be guided not only by whether it of­fers a par­tic­u­lar course, but more so by whether pre­vi­ous grad­u­ates have en­joyed ac­cess to the net­works and ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties they needed to max­imise the im­pact they have - on them­selves and their com­mu­ni­ties - from their qual­i­fi­ca­tions.”

Fi­nally, Prof Louw points to the vi­tal link that ex­ists be­tween stu­dent suc­cess and ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion in­no­va­tion and flex­i­bil­ity. “Whether they are un­der­grad­u­ates, post-grad­u­ates or ex­ec­u­tive stu­dents, to­day's ter­tiary learn­ers typ­i­cally ex­pe­ri­ence mas­sive de­mands on their time. It is why Monash South Africa has made flex­i­ble study sched­ules and in­no­va­tive learn­ing chan­nels core com­po­nents of many of its cour­ses.”

Ul­ti­mately, the de­sired out­come for any stu­dent, or par­ent of a stu­dent, is that the cho­sen course of study is com­pleted on time and with the best pos­si­ble re­sults. Max­imis­ing the like­li­hood of such an out­come re­quires an ap­proach to se­lect­ing a ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion that in­volves much more than go­ing wher­ever you are ac­cepted first.

“Any stu­dent’s po­ten­tial for ex­cel­lent per­for­mance is en­hanced when the ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tion they at­tend is a good fit with their in­di­vid­ual study ap­proach and of­fers them a highly per­son­alised learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in a pro­fes­sional en­vi­ron­ment,” he con­cludes, “and we strive to de­liver so that our grad­u­ates are fully equipped to take ad­van­tage of the many op­por­tu­ni­ties their world class de­gree will af­ford them.”

Elab­o­rat­ing on how the univer­sity strives to create global, highly em­ploy­able cit­i­zens, he speaks of a com­mit­ment to pro­duc­ing grad­u­ates of an in­ter­na­tional cal­i­bre. "Through an in­ter­na­tional net­work, MSA stu­dents can now ac­cess more than 70 ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions that are ed­u­cat­ing over a mil­lion stu­dents in 25 coun­tries across the globe.

In a fi­nal word of ad­vice, he em­pha­sises that crit­i­cal en­gage­ment is vi­tal in se­lect­ing the right univer­sity.

“The in­ter­ests and ap­ti­tude of school-leavers should be the first con­sid­er­a­tion when de­cid­ing on the right qual­i­fi­ca­tion. It is also im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that many job ti­tles, as we now know them, may no longer ex­ist in the near fu­ture.

“Sim­i­larly, a num­ber of new work op­por­tu­ni­ties may not yet ex­ist. Con­se­quently, any qual­i­fi­ca­tion se­lected by a school leaver must be flex­i­ble enough to meet both the cur­rent and un­known fu­ture re­quire­ments of the ev­er­chang­ing work­place."

MSA has four aca­demic schools: Busi­ness and Eco­nom­ics, Health Sciences, In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy and So­cial Sci­ence and a one-year Foun­da­tion Pro­gramme that ar­tic­u­lates into MSA un­der­grad­u­ate de­grees.

Pro­fes­sor Al­wyn Louw, Pres­i­dent of Monash South Africa

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