The itelligence education solution: Political choices have big impact on universities and schools

Our team has implemented SAP Student Lifecycle Management for several community colleges and universities. One of the experiences that we gained: Legal changes are quite common in the world of higher education. This requires quick responses and changes to software and processes. Our customers want quick and reliable solutions to such changes.

1st Example : Attendance

Functionality like attendance monitoring was always considered important at the community college level. Attendance is an important factor in predicting results and drop outs, and if the students are minors they are legally obliged to attend school, and parents need to be informed if students skip classes. At most universities where we have worked, attendance was not that important. In the UK this has suddenly changed. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) requires universities to keep track of the whereabouts of all Non EU students. The consequences of not doing so are enormous: The UKBA has revoked (officially cancelled) the license of one university in London (not one of our customers) to sponsor students from outside the European Economic Area. Suddenly universities have to look for ways to track attendance. For other institutions we therefore move functionality which was considered typical for younger students to our university template and integrate it with our planning functionality and interfaces to timetabling software.

2nd Example: Study Delay

A second example of sudden changes is from the Netherlands. Since September 2012 students who have a study delay of more than 1 year have to pay an additional 3000 euros tuition on top of their regular tuition. Our template solution automatically calculates tuition fees based on any piece of data in the database, so it was not that hard to implement it. However since the election in the middle of September the new coalition (which is not in power yet) quickly said they will revoke this measure “soon” – without stating a date. So while some students have already paid their increased tuition fees that may need to be paid back.

These are just some examples of changes. There are many more to come: Will there be tuition fees in Greece? Increased student mobility due to higher tuition rates in the UK? A wide range of apps, bring your own device, integration with social media, etc.

Changes such as these make the work of my colleagues of the education team and me very interesting. Legal and technical requirements are generally published late, processes need changes and software needs to function as usual. If you have any question about which solutions we have available for changes in your country, feel free to get in touch.

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