Gone are the days where educational institutions were measured by their successful achievements as well as their reputation. Nowadays, people consider the institution’s dynamism coupled with their achievements and successful marketing to ascertain quality education. Any educational institution will want to rank higher and be the first in mind when it comes to students choosing their destination. To do that you need to stay abreast of, and be able to adapt to the changing environment and demands.
Perhaps the more pertinent question is how do you stay relevant and know where to improve?
According to the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs,
"No single university, however large, can encompass all knowledge. Every university has to make choices and prioritise the use of its resources and use them to best effect.”
Currently, most educational institutions use quantitative metrics to compare themselves with competitors, and in this competitive environment you need two things to get ahead; pliable finances as well as a market-leading expert to assist you in benchmarking against competitors and identifying areas where improvement is required. This will ultimately improve your institution's educational performance.
You may be familiar with benchmarking as a method to compare data but beyond comparing metrics, benchmarking contributes in your strategic decision-making and implementing change at an institutional level.
Benchmarking provides the insights that allows your institution to monitor performance and identify gaps. It is an important aspect of the quality assurance cycle which yields better outcomes in your strategic planning and goal setting.
But before you start planning your improvement cycle, institution leaders need to be prepared and be financially resilient. Although financial sustainability is critically important, so is having pliable finances. Often unavoidable and unforeseen opportunities to change arise and organisations with flexible finances are better equipped to adapt, implement and take up opportunities as they arise to improve their educational performance.
A few tips on how an educational institution can build financial resilience and improve educational performance:
- Investing and allocating budgets to the right resources
Spend on areas where you can increase your institution’s competitiveness will help you gain new cash flow and expand your network into new markets.
- Identifying opportunities for cost savings – be they immediate (operational) or long-term opportunities (strategic)
Recognise potential efficiencies and reduce cost in areas where there’s no immediate impact on your institution’s growth and success.
- Be informed
Analyse sector trends and know where you stand amongst all benchmarked institutions and take the opportunity to improve on lower performing areas.
- Clarity on current performance
Constantly assessing your institution’s ranking, knowing where you want to be and taking action to get there will give your institution clarity on its current performance which, in turn, will help build financial flexibility.
With these tips, you’re on your way to start building your improvement plan. And with the help of a benchmarking service provider, your institution can strengthen its financial resilience; know where to allocate and invest key resources; aid ongoing organisational improvement and adaptability, to ensure market-readiness in the evolving world of education.