A-Level results; the National Student Survey; what does it mean for higher education?

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August 15, 2013

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Mark A’Bear, UK Education Manager discusses the need for institutions to provide good value for money on the back of this week’s A-Level results and National Student Survey

Today thousands of students across the UK receive their A- Level results, with a record numbers going through the clearing process to get their place at university.

However, while Universities may have filled places for the next academic year, the hard work has only just begun. With students now paying up to £9,000 a year in tuition fees, their expectations are understandably higher, so retaining students is now just as important as attracting them in the first place.

Interestingly, the National Student Survey results were also out this week, which showed that whilst universities are moving in the right direction, more needs to be done to ensure that students are getting value for money.  Our own Digital Campus 2013 data echoed this sentiment, as it revealed that for 55% of the 2012/13 student intake, university didn’t live up to their expectations, with a lack of suitable libraries and technology named the main reasons why. It also showed a worrying gap between the ICT provision students expected to have before they started their course, and what they actually got. 82% expected their university to go above and beyond a basic technology provision (internet, email and basic programmes) – but only half actually got that.

Students also had concerns over how employable they will be when they graduate, with a  third (33%) admitting they don’t feel their university is equipped to help them get a job and almost a half (49%) saying they didn’t think their chosen institution had good enough links with business. This comes at a time when 96% of students identified ‘increasing their chances of employment’ as the number one reason behind their decision to go to university in the first place.

It’s worrying that there are still many students who only have access to basic tools and technology and aren’t confident that the money they are spending on their education will result in a job. I’m therefore calling on institutions currently going through the clearing process to use this as a wake-up call and provide students with the digital tools needed to help them succeed in today’s tech-driven workplace – or risk leaving them sorely disappointed.

At Adobe we are supporting institutions in providing their students with the latest industry standard technology to help meet their increasing digital demands. We now provide nearly 50% of all Universities and FE Colleges with site-wide access to the latest industry standard creative tools that help students increase their employability. The three year Eduserv Adobe ELA Framework Agreement extends student access to Adobe technology across the entire campus, as well as on staff computers and we estimate that 1.5 million UK students, will have access to Adobe’s industry standard creative tools from September.

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