Critical Issues in Higher Education
Institutions of higher learning are formed for various reasons, most of the private colleges are formed as for profit organizations whose major purpose is to make profits while the not for profit colleges mainly run by governments and nongovernmental organizations have the sole aim of providing education services to the students. Due to the nature of the objectives of the institutions, there divers will also be different.
Drivers for the not for profit colleges is usually to provide quality education to the students while charging them the minimum fee possible while drivers for profit colleges is making maximum possible profits. These institutions are usually run by governments, nongovernmental organizations, faith based organizations or community based organizations because they are the institutions that are in most cases interested in the welfare of the society. The not for profit institutions are concerned with the quality of education that they offer and its accessibility to large numbers of the society, however, while they may not be driven by monetary gains, these institutions usually charge a reduced fee to meet their running expenses or part of the expenses. In very few cases will the not for profit institutions fail to charge anything from the students. On the other hand, the for profit colleges are interested in making profits for the owners. Therefore, any activity that they participate in is usually directed at achieving this goal. These colleges usually charge higher fees than their equivalent, which are not for profit depending on the courses that they offer. For instance, training school for nurses that are not for profit will aim at imparting the nursing students with knowledge and skills as their main objective while for the profit making nursing schools; they will aspire to train professional nurses as long as they are making profits. A major point to note is that irrespective of the different drivers of the two types of college, the quality of training does not necessarily have to be different as long as they meet the set standards.
In the recent past, some issues have been raised regarding higher education; these have been directed at the quality of education that institutions of higher learning provide to their students. One of the critical issues that have been identified is the quality of graduates since a large number of students have been found to be involved in plagiarism or impersonation in a bid to get good grades without toiling for them. This issue has become so rampant such that some individuals and companies have opened bureaus where students can bring their assignments and projects to be done for them. The effect of this has been that students graduate with good grades but they cannot carry out their nursing duties properly. In the recent past, institutions have been trying to cope with this problems through the use of plagiarism software such as turnitout, grammarly, plagiarism checker among others that are available online to discourage students from copying their work online. In addition, hiring institutions such as hospitals have realised good grades on paper does not always mean excellent nurses, therefore, they have adopted other hiring mechanisms that test the ability of the potential employees to perform their responsibilities according to the required standards, for instance, the use of aptitude tests. The quality of education as contributed by the educators in colleges has also been a subject of discussion; this has largely been based on the ideal of hiring part time lecturers versus full time lecturers (Virgona, 2013). While there are disagreements on the ideal method of hiring educators, a common conclusion has not been reached despite everyone agreeing that it may affect the quality of training especially in nurse training schools.
My opinion on these issues facing the educational system is that they affect the leaning and quality of education and if they are not properly addressed, they may compromise on the quality of nursing graduates that they spun.
Several factors affect the cost of education in higher education models; some of these factors are common in both for profit and not for profit institutions. A major cost driver in institutions of higher learning is technology (Ja Kim,et al, 2012). The technological environment is constantly changing making the useful life of technological gadgets very short, this has forced institutions of higher learning to replace them now and then pushing up the costs. For instance, personal computers have for the last 2 decades gone through great technological advancements in terms of their processor speed and their memory capacity. In addition, data and personal security in online platforms have also pushed up the costs as leaving them like that would make the institutions vulnerable to attacks. With the increase in demand for higher education, institutions have seen most of their resources operating beyond optimal points therefore forcing them to hire or construct additional resources to cater for the increasing number of students, consequently, the costs of running these institutions have gone up. Another cost driver in the higher education is the growing diversity of student and programs that are being offered in institutions of higher learning; for instance, in united states of America, the average cost of complying with the disabilities act lei between 700, 000 dollars for public two year courses to a maximum of 13, 000, 000 dollars for research institutions. Increased competition for a relatively constant student pool has forced institutions of higher learning to invest some of their resources in marketing to attract more students; however, these costs have not reduced even with increase in student population partly because competing institutions have also continued to market. With the rising cost of living, salaries paid to staff members have been increasing, this has been especially among the teaching members of staff, institutions have tried to reduce the costs that they offer to their teaching staff by reducing the number of tenured staff member and increasing the number of part time lecturers. Increased government regulation have also pushed the costs incurred by institutions of higher learning in an attempt to meet these regulations, some studies have shown that in America, for every tuition dollar, 7.5 cent goes to help the institution meet government regulations due to the increased number of accreditation agencies.
Cost efficiency in institutions of higher learning can be achieved by ensuring that the cost drivers are maintained at their minimum possible levels. The costs associated with marketing of the institutions can be minimised by ensuring costs that are invested in other areas that improve performance of the institutions have their optimal output, this means improving the quality of education that these institutions offer (Moule, Ward & Lockyer, 2010). For institutions such as Harvard and Massachusetts institute of technology do not spend much on advertising themselves but every year they receive large volumes of application letters, which exceed their capacities, this is due to the quality of training that they have been known to offer. However, this is a long-term measure to reduce costs, as the quality of education will be manifest after the students have joined the workforce. In order to save on costs that are related to technological upgrades, collaborating with several institutions including technology firms such as Microsoft will drastically reduce the cost technological upgrades. Due to increase in demand of education especially in nursing, collaborating of institutions where the institutions, which are operating beyond their optimal capacity with those of a lower level to train nurses, would help them reduce the cost of hiring or constructing additional facilities. Instead of hiring full time lecturers, institutions should hire more part time lecturers with long class time, this will save costs since lectures will only be paid the number of hours that they are in class.
There have been discussions on the role of fulltime and part time lecturers and which is the best plan for institutions of higher learning. Full time lecturers are usually employed by the institutions, therefore their time is usually spent within the institution, proponents of this type of faculty have argues that this is the best if quality of education is to be maintained since they have ample time for research and to address students concerns. On the other hand, part time faculty is thought of as the best in terms of cost since they are only paid for the time they are in class, in addition, if the part time faculty is practising in their profession. For instance, a nursing educator who spends part of his time in the wards and part in the class is likely to produce graduates that are more qualified since he transfers his experience in nursing to the class.
According to CAEL, several student services are available which are important in different aspects of a student’s life. One of the services is college credit; this service allows the students to receive college credits for the experience that they have gained from their work and from what they know from life, this will help them save on the time required to complete their education and the resources. This service also helps learning institutions to assess their students and determine how effective their teaching programs are in meeting the specific need of the students (van Riemsdijk, 2013). The second service that is available to the students is prior learning assessment, which helps students acquire college credit for college level learning that is acquired from other sources such as military training. Competence based education is the other type of service that is offered which entails giving credit to students for the skill learned rather than the time that is taken to learn that skill. This service is aimed at improving the quality of education that students receive since it based on the ability of students to demonstrate the skill learned, in addition, it allows students to progress at their own pace. Advising service helps the students and employees to make informed decision about their careers in order to for them to achieve satisfaction in them. Career service enables individual to plan their education and futures from a point of information; consulting involves enabling adults to meet their specific needs in educations. Convening services entail bringing together all stakeholders to build better solutions to tackle the challenges that face adult education while public policy involves making recommendations for legislation to remove barriers for adult education.
The faculty members role in these services include helping in assessing whether other forms of learning that do not involve conventional classrooms are at par with the skills learned in the normal classroom setting. In addition, they also play an advisory role on the various options that the adult students have in their preferred fields (Jeffries, Clochesy & Hovancsek, 2009). The impact of these services on students retention is that it is likely to retain students since they ensure that the all the needs of the students are met.
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Jeffries, P. R., Clochesy, J. M., & Hovancsek, M. T. (2009). Designing, implementing, and evaluating simulations in nursing education. Teaching in nursing: A guide for faculty, 322-334.
Moule, P., Ward, R., & Lockyer, L. (2010). Nursing and healthcare students’ experiences and use of e-learning in higher education. Journal Of Advanced Nursing, 66(12), 2785-2795. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2010.05453.x
van Riemsdijk, M. (2013). Obstacles to the Free Movement of Professionals: Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications in the European Union. European Journal Of Migration & Law, 15(1), 47-68. doi:10.1163/15718166-12342023
Virgona, T. J. (2013). Graduate nursing student self-assessment: Fundamental technology skills. Journal of Nursing Education & Practice, 3(3).