Technology and Job-Readiness Blend in South African Higher Education Institute
CTI Education Group (CTI) is an institute of higher education that serves approximately 11,000 students across 12 campuses in South Africa. The institute consists of two separately registered entities, CTI and Midrand Graduate Institute (MGI), which together, referred to as CTI, focus on arming students with real-life career skills and training them to succeed as employable graduates in a competitive 21st century economy.
Because career-readiness is such a steadfast priority for the institute, CTI has developed a number of strategies to ensure that all of its graduates are well prepared for a highly demanding labor market. For example, a virtual employability center will open in 2016 to serve as a resource hub for students looking to enter the job market. The virtual hub will be followed by six physical employability centers to provide personalized, face-to-face job coaching. Finally, employability competencies are firmly embedded into the CTI curriculum, which focuses primarily on information technology, commerce, and law.
Intended outcome 1
Students progress to employment, post-graduate education, or a professional training program once they graduate from the institution.
Pearson has gathered student evidence that suggests a majority of students were able to find a job, enroll in post-graduate education, or begin a training program after graduating from one of CTI’s qualifications.1
More than two-thirds (68 percent) of CTI graduates are in full-time, part-time or voluntary work; in further education; or in a training program six months after graduating. There are some limitations to this data because responses are self-reported and the survey only had a 25 percent response rate.
1 Graduate Destinations Survey
Denise Steyn graduated from the Midrand campus in 2010 with the hopes of entering the pharmaceutical industry. Today she is a full-time science lecturer at MGI while finishing her master’s degree at the University of Pretoria.
Steyn is one example of how students from CTI remain involved with their institutions well after graduation. She is an example, too, of the institute’s high employability rate for graduates.
In addition to employability, CTI has placed a premium on the importance of technology as a catalyst for engagement in the classroom. Since Pearson acquired CTI in 2013, the institute has embraced technology in the classroom, examining where it can improve and support the learning experience by offering every student a tablet with pre-loaded digital textbooks. Lecturers at CTI have also been trained in specific teaching methods that are based firmly in the use of learning technologies.
The design of this technology, and a foundational goal of CTI, is to use technology to increase engagement and motivation among students—ultimately helping them pass their modules and their course.
Intended outcome 2
Students pass all required modules at CTI.
Pearson has early stages of evidence that most students who enroll on a CTI qualification pass all their required modules and move onto the next level of study.2
In 2015, a majority of students at both CTI and MGI passed their modules during their first semester—a pass rate that increases for every additional year at the institutions. Although these figures suggest strong pass rates, the conclusions we can draw from the data are limited because CTI is only able to track students in one-year cohorts—the students, as of yet, are not tracked longitudinally through their four years at CTI. However, the results are still meaningful because they indicate what proportion of students progress to the next level of learning, despite the fact that the results do not imply causality. A wide-scale effort is in progress to improve the group’s data infrastructure, which will allow Pearson to track students’ progress throughout their entire time at CTI and will provide researchers a more comprehensive picture of their progress.
Pearson is continuing to investigate the efficacy of CTI and is establishing mechanisms to make efficacy research easier and more accurate to conduct. Students this year will receive a unique student identifier, allowing CTI to track student progression through the institute longitudinally. The unique student identifiers, paired with a redeveloped data infrastructure, will help Pearson conduct research around how successfully students engage with the course, achieve their qualifications, complete their module tasks, and progress after they’ve graduated.
Teaching at CTI is centered on technology-enhanced learning, and through 2014 and into 2015, CTI delivered a professional development program for lecturers across all sites. CTI conducts an institution-wide annual audit program, as well as regular student surveys for feedback on lecturer quality and impact. The results of this audit program are still being evaluated but are hoped to show improved student motivation and engagement due to the professional development that the lecturers have received.
CTI will continue to serve their mission of transforming the higher education landscape in South Africa while future efficacy research plans begin to unfold. With youth unemployment in South Africa hovering above 50 percent, according to the World Bank, it has become more important than ever to arm young graduates with a competitive education and real-life skills to enable their success in the 21st-century labor market.
CTI has ambitious plans to conduct research that will further demonstrate the impact of their programs on learner’ outcomes, such as securing jobs and further study. For an overview of these plans, please see the accompanying Impact Evaluation Report below.
In 2013, we announced our efficacy initiative to measure the impact that our products and services have on our learners. We committed to publicly report our findings starting in 2018, and to subject those reports to external audit. We are pleased to release our preliminary reports to share the work we have done so far and what we have planned ahead. The content in these reports reflects the continued refinement of our approach; while our work continues to advance, we are proud to share transparently what we have learned. We anticipate that we will continue to further refine these reports as we approach our 2018 target.
Age/Stage: Higher Education
Type: Learning Institution