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Significant trends in private educational sector and the associated issues

Discuss About The Managing And Leading Strategic Change?

The private school i.e. the non-governmental or the independent schools which have an independent working with no administration from the national or state governments or by the local bodies. These schools have their individual right of selection of students and attain their funding in the form of students’ tuition fees instead of depending upon the funds gathered from the government. In Singapore, CPE i.e. The Committee for Private Education is a statutory body that regulates and administers the functioning of the private schools and institutions. It possesses the legislative power to administer, regulate and manage the functioning of the private educational sector in the country. It is essential for the private institutions to register under CPE. Another major body is the EduTrust i.e. The EduTrust Certification Scheme which is basically a scheme that works for the quality assurance perspective. The key aims of EduTrust is to differentiate the private schools in respect with the quality of their education as well as on the basis of improvements made that are helpful in attaining an improved education outcome. But in past few years, there has been faced a number of challenges by the institutes and the private schools because of increase number of frauds and issues in the private educational sector of Singapore (Yin, n.d.). There are renowned schools and private institutes that are trying to overcome these challenges and issues and trying to have a more safer and secure education system to avoid issues in the future time frame and thus for achieving the same there are numerous changes which are taking place in the strategies and management of these private schools.

In the private educational sector of Singapore, there has been realized a series of changes and modification. There are several new trends and variations that have been the cause behind the increasing number of issues faced by both the students as well as the institutions. The most prominent issue is the fraud and the incorrect certifications offered to the students (Lo, 2014). The individuals studying in these private institutes are facing issues related to fake certifications. The students are enrolling themselves in the universities to get certificates but there are numerous cases which have been investigated as offering fraud certificates and earning huge money (Chung, 2015). It is essential for the PEIs to renew their licenses with CPE to have trouble free functioning (Jiang and Carpenter, 2014). It is mandatory to register and renew license to meet the requirements of the education sector which are rising because of increase level of dynamicity in the sector. There have been highlighted few of the key incidents that have raised a questioning about the authenticity of the private educational sector of Singapore. It was investigated by pro-tem CPE regarding the fake certificates or degrees of RMIT issues by Brookes Business School (Tomazin, 2009). The key point that rises the questioning was that there was no association between the Australian University and the School. In July 2009, due to indulge in such fraud activities, the school was shut down by the Singapore’s Ministry Of Education. It was claimed that the supervisor and the authoritative individual, Yap Chee Mun was not an appropriate individuals to operate the institute (Sam, 2017). The key issues that were highlighted in this case were that the school has taken upsurge course fees and sharing of the excess amount among the students, school and other associated parties. Other case associated with such changing trends and prevailing issues had taken place in the year 2010 when there was filed an anonyms complaint against SAS i.e. School of Applied Studies. An investigation was conducted and it was found that SAS was only offered with one year registration but not with certification by CPE (Sam, 2016). But the school made a false statement regarding its certification and there were enrolled around 300 students. Thus, it leads to another issue that rose because of unjustified profit making activities of the private schools in Singapore and cheated on the students’ certifications (Sam, 2017).

Economic and Legal audit of the changing trends and issues in the private educational sector of Singapore

From the economic aspects, there has been analysed that Singapore has stood up stronger in terms of providing quality education to the people seeking for it. There has been realized a sudden increase in the economic development because of the capital formation with the rise in the educational sector of the country. But the trends and changes which are taking place in the education sector are impacting the nation’s economy in a negative aspect as because of fraud and fake certifications the schools or the educational institutes have to repay the amount to the students enrolled in the universities (McBurnie and Ziguras, 2011). Because of such issues, there is deterioration of the reputation of the educational sector which leads to decreased number of individuals enrolling themselves in the universities and this result in decrease amount of capital inflows in the nation. And because of the continuous scams and frauds the half of the private schools of Singapore are about to close which is one of the most biggest downturn for the Singaporean economy as there is a vital role of the private educational sector in the strong GDP and capital formation of the country (Kobakhidze, 2014).

From the legal aspects, there has been analysed that Singapore has strong laws and regulations that restricts taking place of all such activities as well as sue the respective individuals or organisations who are involved in any kind of fraud activities related to the generation of fake certifications to the overseas students (JIALING, 2011). There are set legal practices and rules developed by CPE and MOE of Singapore which file suits against such institutes or bodies that are involved in the scams. It is essential for the private schools and institutes to have a registration under CPE and also to possess a period of four year of registration for attaining the certification from CPE. Thus, these are the legal regulations and laws which all the private educational sector organisations must follow (Daniel, Kanwar and Uvali?-Trumbi?, 2009).

There are number of transitional challenges which are faced by the students in the private schools of Singapore due to a number of factors. The transitional challenges faced comprises of the challenges related to increased personal responsibilities in terms of academic requirements, self-directive learning, freedom, time management, etc. (Daniel, et al., 2010). There are also challenges related to personal and the social factors such as balancing the education and personal and social life, homesickness, meeting new people, lack of diversity etc. Other transitional challenges faced by the students includes challenges in effective communication, lack of feedbacks, isolation, large courses, challenges related to academic such as new terminologies, learning styles, group work, referencing, critical thinking, language issues, etc. (Healey, 2015). All such transitional challenges are required to be managed along with the fake certification issues in the educations sector of Singapore.

Transitional Challenges faced by the private educational sector of Singapore

                                                                                        (Source: Alfaro and Ketels, 2016)

The education sector of Singapore has realized a sudden decline in the number of overall enrolments in the last few consecutive years. The primary reason behind this decrease number of enrolments of the local as well as the foreign students is because of the various illegal practices as well as declining standards of the quality of the education offered. It has resulted in increased pressure upon the institutions and the schools to bring increased level of improvements in their education systems and to improve the quality standards so that the number of enrolments can be increased (Alfaro and Ketels, 2016).

                                                                                         (Source: Export, 2017)

The private educational sector is extremely depended upon the enrolments of the foreign students because of the fact that they do not possess a complete knowledge of the authenticity and brand robustness of the schools and the universities and this offers an advantage to the private sector schools to enrol the overseas students. But because of increased number of frauds and scams in relation to the fake certification and unauthentic degrees, there has also been analysed a decline in the number of foreign students enrolling in the private schools of Singapore. From the year 2013, the total number of visas issued comprising of the overseas students i.e. 5092 has experienced a decline of almost of a thousand visas as the visas issues in 2017 was just 4000. This shows the declining reliability of the Singaporean schools and institutes (Export, 2017).

To make the organisations more competitive and have continuous improvements in the institutes or organisations, there is a need to have a change management process in the institutes. For implementing change, the various sectors and organisations take use a renowned model named as Lewin’s change model. There are particularly three stages in the change management model of Lewin i.e. Unfreeze, Change and Freeze. There is a strong need of implementing changes in the private educational sector of Singapore because of the increased number of issues and challenges and as its impacts, the decrease number of enrolments. To resolve the issues related to fake certifications and transitional issues there is a need to have adequate strategies. The first step in the change management process of the CPE and the MOE will be to unfreeze the current practices by suing up the schools or the institutes who are involved in such scams. For this, there is an essential need of tight scrutiny check to be performed on all the private sector schools of Singapore. In respect with the transitional challenges, there must be an in-depth analysis of all the transitional issues faced by the students so appropriate strategies could be framed (Tienken and Orlich, 2013).

Impact of issues on the growth and performance of the educational sector of Singapore

The second step according to the Lewin’s change model is to implement change which demonstrates that there must be certain changes which are required to be performed in the laws, regulations, policies and practices. Firstly, the change would be in the online websites of the schools as they are the primary source for carrying out with the fraud activities and certifications. Thus, all the websites must have an automated check and evaluation system by the administrative bodies so that no such activity could take place. The other changes that must be incorporate comprises of appointment of the genuine and principled individuals who can carry on the functions of the private schools with utmost authenticity and ethicality (Cummings, Bridgman and Brown, 2016). There must also be an appointment of the audit committee who can check and evaluate the certifications, issue of degrees and other school related functions so that the chances of fraud can be eliminate. All the schools must be prepared for all these changes so that future evaluations and working could be easier. In context with the transitional challenges, the administrative organisations or the schools must implement adequate trainings for the students especially for the one who have entered just entered in the secondary education. There must be orientation programs, taking use of diverse set of languages so that the students feel comfortable and also culturally diverse teachers to understand the issues of the students from overseas (Kritsonis, 2005). The third aspect of the model is refreeze as per which there must effective follow up of all the practices and policies and the changes that have been implemented by the respective authorities in the education system. In context with the transitional challenges, in the third step i.e. unfreeze there must be adopted a culture where more set of trainings must be continuously offered to the students as well as schools must follow all the guidelines to make the student fee comfortable without any such challenge.

Strategies for influencing the key decision makers

To incorporate the changes and to attain desired results, there is a need to have appropriate strategies so that the decision makers and all the liable authorities can participate in the change process. The strategies that can be beneficial for having an influence on the decision makers is that to make the president, the vice president and the other stakeholders understand the impact of the issues on the sustainability and growth of the educational sector and the importance of implementing change for achieving the desired goals and objectives (Flood, 2011). The decision makers must be offered with the evaluative results attained from the negative implication posed on the number of enrolments in the private schools of Singapore. Once the decision makers are informed with the consequences they can have effective implementation of the changes. Other strategies which can be used is to have an analysis of the competitive organisations i.e. the private educational sector of various other countries and there competitive strategies to resist these challenges. All these strategies will influence the decision makers to implement a change in the existing strategies and management (Leng, 2013).

Sources and power required to implement change

To implement the change in the private sector schools, the key power is in the hands of the administrative authorities i.e. the Ministry of Education of Singapore and the CPE as they are the key regulatory bodies and govern the power to implement any kind of change. Thus, it is essential that to overcome the challenges of transition and the fake certification issues, there is a need to implement new strategies and change management by these bodies (Ochieng, 2016).

In the change management process at the private schools of Singapore there is key significance and importance of leadership. As to execute and implement the change in the organisations or the institutes in an effective manner, it is necessary to have a competent leader. There are several qualities, positive characteristics and competencies which are necessary to be the part of a leader’s leadership skills. There is a need to have transformational leader instead of a transactional leader because of the reason that the transactional leaders are more concerned with the already established policies and standards to achieve a status quo whereas the transformational leaders believes in a change process to attain improved standards and performance (Chen-Wilson and Argles, 2010). There is its necessary to have transformational leaders in the private schools of Singapore who can have change management in the schools and overcome the issues and challenges that have taken place because of transactional aspect and the fake certifications issues. The leaders have a vital role in the process of change management as to change the existing systems, it is essential to develop a strong communication with the other associated members so that they can also be a part of the change management process and do not resist. The leader only can change the resistance to change into the part of a change management process. To have a sustainable change and effective change management in the private educational sector of Singapore, the responsible authoritative bodies and the institutional leaders must act in a transformational way and eliminate all the ill practices that leads to fraud in the educational system and generation of the fake certificates to the students as well as to have a sustainable practices for managing the transactional challenges in the educations sector (McNicoll, Luff and Campus, n.d.).

Conclusion

In the private educational sector of Singapore, there has been identified increase number of changes which has impacted the sector with many negative implications. From the report, it has been identified that there are several cases of fraud and scams related to the fake certifications and degrees to the students. All such incidents have resulted in ruining of the brand image of the Singaporean educational systems. The report also highlights numerous transactional challenges which also a major factor in the decreasing market share of eth educational systems. The report concludes that the private sector is facing changing trends that are leading to continuous rise of number of issues and to sustain these challenges, there is a need to have changes in the existing strategies of the private educational sector. From the insights taken, it can also be stated that with the help of Lewin’s change model, the institutes and the private schools can have an improved working with elimination of fraud activities. It is also concluded that to implement the change management process in an effective way, there is a key significance of a good transformational leader who can execute and implement the changes in the most efficient manner. The leadership competencies, qualities and skills are vital for achieving a sustainable change and improve practices in the private educational sector of Singapore.

References

Alfaro, L. and Ketels, C., 2016. Singapore’s Higher Education Cluster. Harvard Business School. Pp.35. Accessed on: 31st August, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.isc.hbs.edu/resources/courses/moc-course-at-harvard/Documents/pdf/student-projects/Singapore%20Higher%20Education%202016.pdf

Chen-Wilson, L. and Argles, D., 2010, January. Towards a framework of a secure e-Qualification certificate system. In Computer Modeling and Simulation, 2010. ICCMS'10. Second International Conference on (Vol. 1, pp. 493-500). IEEE.

Chung, F., 2015. The great Aussie degree scam: Forgers raking in thousands selling bogus qualifications. Accessed on: 31st August, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.news.com.au/finance/work/careers/the-great-aussie-degree-scam-forgers-raking-in-thousands-selling-bogus-qualifications/news-story/37a95801652821f9357ba94c20bbf29a

Cummings, S., Bridgman, T. and Brown, K.G., 2016. Unfreezing change as three steps: Rethinking Kurt Lewin’s legacy for change management. human relations, 69(1), pp.33-60.

Daniel, J., Kanwar, A. and Uvali?-Trumbi?, S., 2009. From innocence to experience: The politics and projects of cross-border higher education. In Education across borders (pp. 19-31). Springer Netherlands.

Daniel, J., Uvali?-Trumbi?, S., Kanwar, A., West, P., Balasubramanian, K., Lesperance, J. and Ramamurthy, S., 2010. Distance Education: Threats and Opportunities: Selected speeches and website blogs of Sir John Daniel and colleagues 2009-2010.

Export, 2017. Singapore – Education. Accessed on: 31st August, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.export.gov/article?id=Singapore-Education

Flood, J., 2011. Legal education in the global context: challenges from globalization, technology and changes in government regulation. University of Westminster.

Healey, N.M., 2015. Towards a risk-based typology for transnational education. Higher Education, 69(1), pp.1-18.

JIALING, L., 2011. Politicised Nationality for Transnational Life: Simultaneous Incorporation of Mainland Chinese settled student migrants in Singapore(Doctoral dissertation).

Jiang, N. and Carpenter, V., 2014. A case study of emerging challenges and reflections on internationalization of higher education. International Education Studies, 7(9), pp.50-56.

Kobakhidze, M.N., 2014. Corruption risks of private tutoring: Case of Georgia. Asia Pacific Journal of Education, 34(4), pp.455-475.

Kritsonis, A., 2005. Comparison of change theories. International journal of scholarly academic intellectual diversity, 8(1), pp.1-7.

Leng, H.K., 2013. The use of Facebook as a marketing tool by private educational institutions in Singapore. In Marketing Strategies for Higher Education Institutions: Technological Considerations and Practices (pp. 164-175). IGI Global.

Lo, W.Y.W., 2014. Think global, think local: The changing landscape of higher education and the role of quality assurance in Singapore. Policy and Society, 33(3), pp.263-273.

McBurnie, G. and Ziguras, C., 2011. Global trends in quality assurance for transnational education. Quality Assurance of Transnational Higher Education The Experiences of Australia and India, p.19.

McNicoll, Y., Luff, A. and Campus, C., Protecting Student Welfare: managing policy in a global tertiary education market. Australia. Pp.24.

Ochieng, H.O., 2016. A mobile based application for verification of legitimacy of degree certificates in Kenya (Doctoral dissertation, Strathmore University). Kenya. Pp.126.

Sam, C.Y., 2016. Governing higher education institutions in Singapore: An agency framework. Serbian Journal of Management, 11(1), pp.55-68.

Referencesork 213. Pp.172.

Tomazin, F., 2009. RMIT snared in degree scam. The Sydney Morning Herald. Accessed on: 31st August, 2017. Accessed from: https://www.smh.com.au/national/education/rmit-snared-in--degree-scam-20090617-chvv.html

Yin, S.C., How does Singapore govern the private education institutions?. Pacific-Asian Education, p.19.

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