Wednesday Jan 29, 2014

Higher Education Vision 2030

We have seen our neighbouring countries like China, Korea and Singapore, transform from developing to advanced economies in a short span of time owing to a larger vision that correlated economic development to reforms in the education sector, in particular higher education and research. With this in vision, India needs to charter out an education plan to educate and empower our youth through a sound education system with a clear vision and a time-bound roadmap.

It is interesting to know that by 2030, India is expected  to be the fastest growing economy touching a GDP of $10 trillion and one of the youngest nations in the world with a median age of 32. The greying developed world is expected to face a skilled talent shortage of approximately 56 million by 2030 and is already looking at India as the future stock of skilled talent.

With this in context, FICCI has endeavoured to create a ‘Vision 2030' for Higher Education in India; similar to a revolution that India had for Telecom in the 90s.

Mr. Mohan Das Pai (Chairman, FICCI Higher Education Committee), wrote an article* which spoke of not only this vision but also the new system that he intends and visions to introduce in the country.

Some excerpts of the vision that was highlighted:
  • Atleast 23 Indian universities would be among the global top 200
  • 6 Indian intellectuals would have been awarded the Nobel Prize
  • India to be among top 5 countries globally in cited research output
  • R&D spends totalling over $140 billion
  • Introduction of a differentiated academic system with a three-tiered structure (comprising highly selective elite research universities, comprehensive universities and specialised institutions)
  • Seamless access to high quality content and curriculum through open source such as the Massive Open-Online Courses (MOOCs) model
  • Freedom of choice coupled with a liberal arts component needs to be integrated within the curriculum, instead of the current model that promotes narrow specializations
  • Faculty would be a mix of academics, researchers and industry professionals
  • Institutions to rely heavily on online methods of teaching and learning, collaborate with ITIs, polytechnics and other vocational training providers to impart skill based training and offer both part-time and full-time options
  • The system would enable seamless mobility of students, faculty, researchers and professionals across institutions of all types.

As we speak of this vision, it needs to be understood that our education ecosystem today 'suffers' with its system. The methodology of teaching, the resistance to change, obsolete or non-existing IT infrastructure, disconnect from the industry & never changing syllabi are a few issues which not only hinder the development of our institutions but is also plagues the student's intellect and aspirations as he/she graduates.


Thursday Jan 23, 2014

Mastering the Cost of Higher Education with Oracle Applications

There is a perfect storm going on in the world of Higher Education right now. Over the last few years, the cost of higher education has been outpacing the consumer price index.

Parents are starting to ask how and why this storm is happening. Well, both college endowments and state appropriations are either decreasing or stagnant, while university expenses and enrollments are increasing. Yet universities are being forced to keep tuition costs flat.

So how can Higher Education intuitions better understand and manage these issues?
We realize that Higher Education institutions might have good visibility into total operational costs and total revenue collected, but little or no visibility into individual program, degree and course costs, or the cost per student. Currently, colleges and universities have not implemented activity-based costing which is used in many commercial enterprises. Activity-based costing goes beyond the traditional allocation of overhead and provides institutions with better insight into information needed to make strategic decisions about cost containment and allocation of resources. With governing and regulatory bodies currently recommending (and likely soon requiring) this type of analysis and reporting, it is becoming critical for higher education institutions to have this type of insight for both long term and short term planning and reporting. 

So which institutional processes benefit the most from understanding costs more?
Budget and spending decisions need to be based on data and not assumptions. Financial ERP systems and the current structure of institutions’ charts of accounts are not set up to support the type of analysis needed. Using activity-based cost and revenue modeling enables academic institutions to answer crucial questions and, more importantly, analyze many business scenarios to determine their best courses of action.

However, for this type of process to be successful, collaboration between the academic and administrative teams in institutions is foundational and critical. These two groups need to start the discussion about how, and to what level, costs and revenues are to be allocated and which drivers are going to be used. This is the starting point to begin a good model. It is an iterative process and institutions will build upon this and create additional model scenarios as economic and academic conditions change.

So how can Oracle help?

To survive, Higher Education institutions need to either make programs financial sustainable, or ensure there are other programs that have enough surplus to make up for the deficit of programs.

Oracle can help with:

  • Transparency that enables institutions to ensure resources are aligned correctly based on actual measurable information
  • Understanding the true cost to implement new programs and the ability to make pricing decisions based on those costs
  • A thorough understanding of costs at a more granular level and the root cause of the costs. This information enables institutions to make informed decisions
  • Creating accountability that enables departments to understand the resources they consume as it relates to the revenue that they generating
  • Addressing concerns and questions from various stakeholders, e.g. CFO, Board of Trustees, State and other governing boards and accreditation bodies.
To stave off this perfect storm, it is imperative that our institutions now master the cost of Higher Education.

Thursday Jan 02, 2014

Application Form and Approval Builder

I have tried out this feature on 9.1 and thought of trying it out in 9.2. I couldn't find much changes from the previous version though.

You can find the link to the Forms under: Enterprise Components > Forms

The main advantage of the Forms are that, you can create it very easily for a less complex approval processing. A functional consultant can create a great looking online form in few minutes. This reminded me of Google Docs. The plus part of the PeopleSoft Form is that, from my perspective, is the Approval and CI integration options.

It is a good option indeed. Prior to creating the form, if you have an idea on the required prompt tables, you can create it under Define Prompt Record and keep it ready.

Start with designing the form from the Design a form page.

Provide a desired name and kick off the design.

Until the design is finished and the form is activated, the status will be In Design status. Effective date range decides the life span of the form.

You can go for a single column style or two column style. Decide and pick up the field positions. Also the fields can be moved up and down in the position by clicking the arrow marks to the right side of the scroll.

Supporting documents can be attached at this page, which will be visible to the participants

You can publish the form at any portal level. For the testing purpose, this form was registered under the Root folder.

Lock or make it available once the approval cycle is completed. You can see the Approver User List prompt in this page. This will include your form to any AWE approver user list. Pretty good right.

Preview the from from here, and make the changes to the form, before activating it.

As this form is registered under the Root folder, you can see that to the end of the Menu.

The above screenshot shows the approver to which the form is send.

If there is a from in your queue, handle it from here.

Ah, the interesting part for a developer.

As told earlier, this will be handy in situation when there is a straight forward requirement for a simple form. You cannot have event based codes written anywhere. Not in our hand. I believe people count this as the primary disadvantage, which we cannot really call as one, when considering the situations for which this is built.


Mohit Satraj Phogat
Author: Mohit Phogat

This site focuses on Oracle's offerings to higher education in the Indian region. It intends to cover news, reviews, guides, how-to articles, descriptive videos, and podcasts on the trends which should be helpful to customers, prospects and developer community alike.

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