Making Informed Higher Education Choices for 2018
Tertiary learning requires a professional approach with a personal touch
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