Sunday, October 4, 2015

4/10/15: IBM: Some Tough Numbers on Higher Education Success


IBM Institute for Business Value Higher Education Survey 2015 with results published in June 2015 has been quite an interesting read. The report “Pursuit of relevance How higher education remains viable in today’s dynamic world” is available here.

Take the following Question: “To what extent do you believe the current higher education system in your country is meeting the needs of the following groups?”

Chart below plots percentages of respondents by group across three core categories of ‘customers’: students, employers and society at large.


One thing that jumps out is that corporate recruiters are relatively more positive than education providers (excluding university staff) when it comes to assessing the education system performance.

Another conclusion that jumps out is that with exception of one sub-group in one category, overall assessment of education systems is pretty grim - no >50% support for the proposition that education system meets the needs of either students, employers or society.

Third conclusion is that, on average, higher education systems serve better the needs of students, followed by society, than industry.

More damning, “Survey results also point to higher education shortfalls in other areas. In terms of economic value, only 51 percent of industry and academic leaders believe higher education is providing value for money, and just 49 percent view it as contributing to economic growth and competitiveness.”

There is also a very interesting gap across respondents categories in terms of what is perceived to be the most important metrics of success of modern education system. Chart below illustrates:


As can be glimpsed from above, educators are literally falling over themselves in pursuit of jobs placements. While corporate recruiters and learning executives are less warm about this objective.

Very interesting findings, some counter-intuitive, some potentially arising from the sample selection biases (after all,  we don't have much to go by in terms of actual corporate leaders, and data reported is limited, as for example the chart above clearly shows). Nonetheless, the questions raised are of great importance.

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