The enrollment of students in higher education has increased from 25.2 per cent in the year 2017 to 25.8 per cent in 2018, taking the total number of applicants to 36.6 million. With this steady growth it is expected that by the year 2020, India will be able to achieve a Gross Enrollment Ratio of 30%. The concern with this statistics,however, is that the colleges and universities, with their manual,time-consuming, error-prone, and stressful admission and counselling process, are not prepared to handle this robust growth.
The Need for Digitization
The current admission scenario faces a considerable number of challenges in selecting the right candidates. A system of disconnected applications coupled with a costly and effort intensive, document verification system, creates room for errors. Also, extensive manpower is employed in conducting multiple rounds of counselling. Such manual intervention and lack of access to real-time data, on-demand reports, and decision analytics,create inconvenience for the students and staff alike.
At all points of the admission process institutions run the risk of tarnishing their brand image on account of an unpleasant situation experienced by an applicant. Sensing the urgency, the UGC too had requested universities to digitize the admission process and make it consumer-centric to favour impressionable students, their anxious parents, and the hard-working institutional staff and faculty.
Speeding Up the Admission Lifecycle
- Online Application and Fee Payment- A web-based system of registration, enquiry, form fill-up, fee payment, receipt generation,and preference listing at the candidate’s convenience, would enhance the admission experience for the tech-savvy generation.
- Online Scrutiny and Document Verification – The soft copies of documents and certificates should be uploaded and verified online,based on configured university rules. This will reduce the cost and efforts involved, on both the part of the student and the college administration, as well as eliminate the risk of loss.
- Online Program/Course Details – All relevant information about admissions, including college-wise, level-wise and category-wise seat and fee details, should be uploaded by college principals and university registrars, and made available online. This will eliminate the need for students to make multiple visits to the admission counter for clarifications and updates. It would also do away with the need for rigorous follow-ups by the counselling conducting body to access offline data over emails and excel reports.
- Online Counselling Portal-A centralized online counselling system which leverages cloud-based technology for merit list generation, algorithm-based seat allotment, SMS and e-mail communication, would allow the staff to streamline their energies in addressing other important activities and tasks.Also, auto-updation of rank and course-wise seat matrix, along with seamless communication across all stakeholders, would increase transparency and eliminate the errors caused by manual intervention.Additionally, there would be provision for candidates to lock their seats after their online counselling round by paying the admission fees.
Such a digitized process would significantly cut down the admission cycle from months to only a few weeks. It would also give institutions access to a real-time dashboard and data analysis which would aid them in making informed decisions and ensure better governance.
An integrated platform which digitizes and manages end-to-end admission and counselling process helps to set the institution apart and promotes operational efficiency. It also remarkably cuts down the time, cost, and effort involved and assists in boosting overall institutional productivity.
– Shailendra Kumar Singh, Biz Apps Delivery Manager, TCS iON
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