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A comprehensive study conducted through the popular website LinkedIn has shown that Graduates from the private, internationally administered, Canterbury University have significantly outperformed alumni of conventional schools.
Canterbury University is a private institution and has incorporated status and trust status in several jurisdictions. Until recently this included the Republic of the Seychelles until a blanket closure of all private degree granting institutions in that country, at the President’s behest, following his establishment of the public University of the Seychelles.
Canterbury University, which has an office in Hyde in Cheshire and which operates legally in the UK as a foreign institution as defined by the 1988 Education (Reform) Act, provides non-traditional distance programmes, portfolio assessment and short residential ‘sojourns’ aimed at working and experienced professionals who do not have the time to attend full time residential programmes. Its programmes place a high value on demonstrating real world skills and experience.
The study involved 200 double blind tests in fields as diverse as private schools, private language schools, translation agencies, information technology, engineering, business administration, management, import and export, finance, publishing and journalism.
Employers were asked to pose a problematic scenario typical to their own field. These scenarios were then presented simultaneously to Canterbury University Graduates and alumni of traditional institutions in the field concerned who were looking for work or promotion with résumés posted online.
Both solutions were then presented, with the employer being told only that each had been prepared and submitted by ‘a graduate’. The employer was then asked which solution was considered superior and which candidate they would be most likely to employ.
In 196 cases (98%) the employer preferred the solution presented by the Canterbury University Graduate in preference to an alumnus of a traditional institution.
Some reasons given for this preference included ‘punctuality’, ‘clarity of thought’, ‘practicality’, ‘innovative approach’, ‘superior quality in the presentation’, ‘self evident professionalism’, ‘greater awareness of cost and implementation’ and the recognition of ‘an experienced hand’.
Failings among submissions by traditional graduates were identified as ‘tardiness’, ‘lack a work ethic’, ‘impractical solution in the real world’, ‘good in theory – lousy in practice’, ‘missed the point altogether’, ‘almost unintelligible’ and ‘I cannot believe a graduate prepared this’.
In 106 cases, the employer asked to be put in touch with the Canterbury University Graduate for future collaboration.
The results mirror closely those from a similar study here in India into employer satisfaction of conventional college and university graduates.
The study carried out by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the World Bank showed 64 percent of surveyed employers are “somewhat”, “not very”, or “not at all” satisfied with the quality of engineering graduates’ skills indicating existence of a major skill gap.
Across the globe, similar stinging rebukes have been leveled at graduates from traditional degree granting institutions.
In the US the 2010 Association of American Colleges and Universities’ LEAP Survey, which involved 305 American businesses, reported as its major finding that employers are dissatisfied with the skills and abilities of recent conventional college and university graduates with fully 63% stating that they believed that too many recent graduates simply do not have the skills they need to succeed in the global economy.
In New Zealand, in response to a survey conducted by Massey University, bosses complained that employees lack basic literacy, life and personal skills, and often have a poor work attitude, with only 29% describing traditional graduates as ‘adequately trained’.
Another survey by the Confederation of British Industry reported a 55% dissatisfaction rate with language skills of conventional university graduates.
The 2010 CBI/EDI education and skills survey, in which 694 employers participated, has just been published. Covering 2.4 million employees, almost half of bosses (46%) are dissatisfied with graduates’ business and customer awareness, and a quarter are unhappy with graduates’ time management (26%) and problem solving skills (24%)
The 2009 joint CBI and UUK publication on the issue noted that employers are far from pleased with the overall level of these skills among their conventional graduate employees. Only 29% of employers are very satisfied with the ability of conventional graduates to apply numeracy skills, and a similarly low proportion – 31% – were content with the communication and literacy skills of their conventional graduate intake. Employers are also concerned about graduates’ broader employability skills. Fewer than one in five employers (19%) report high levels of satisfaction with graduates’ team -working skills, and just 8% of firms were very satisfied with university-leavers’ basic understanding of business and customer awareness.
In Ireland a recent IBEC survey found that graduates from traditional institutions fell down on their generic skills, such as people-related skills and their ability to work independently. These are described as ‘key requirements’.
A study in 2005 by the Framework for Effective Instruction (FEI) concluded that 42% of employers are dissatisfied with conventional graduates’ ability to think analytically and 41% of employers are dissatisfied with traditional graduates’ ability to… understand difficult material. (source) http://www.slideshare.net/redesignu/fei-overview
Legal Battle and Victory
Canterbury University won a substantial legal victory in Florida in 2009 when the State attempted to prosecute a Canterbury Graduate, Jerry G. Tramel, using unconstitutional legislation which discriminates against private university degrees. As in previous cases the US Constitution’s First Amendment prevailed and the case collapsed spectacularly after just 27 minutes in the 14th Judicial Circuit Court. Judge William L. Wright dismissed all charges since the Prosecution was forced to admit that Canterbury University degrees are perfectly legal.
From our Education Correspondent