Facilitating and Support Services in Institutions of Higher Learning


By

D.V.Ramana Murthy
Senior Faculty
P.G. Dept of Commerce & Management Studies
The Hindu College
Machilipatnam
Guest Faculty
Dept of Business Management
Krishna University
Machilipatnam
Director & Core Faculty
Attitude+ve, Behavioural Training Solutions
Machilipatnam
 


Education as a service can be said to be fulfilling the need for learning, acquiring knowledge –providing an intangible benefit (increment in knowledge, professional expertise, skills) produced with the help of a set of tangible (infrastructure) and intangible components (faculty expertise and learning), where the buyer (student) of the service does not get any ownership. He may have tangible physical evidence to show the service exchange transaction but the actual benefit accrued is purely intangible in nature.

Education Package: While deciding on the educational packages to be offered to student population the starting point obviously has to be the student. Central to the idea of an educational service product are, the student benefit concept, the service concept, the service offer and the service delivery system. While the student benefit concept defines what benefits do students derive from a particular educational package offered, the service concept is concerned with the definition of general benefit the educational institution offers on the basis of the students benefits sought.

THE EDUCATIONAL SERVICE DELIVERY SYSTEM


The institution through their educational service packages makes a promise of benefit to the students. The students want promises in the service offer to be delivered. Teaching and other support staff of the institution should deliver the promise as specified in the service offer. The institution should enable their teaching and support staff with necessary resources and process to deliver the promise.

For decision making purpose it is essential to recognize the basic educational package as consisting of three elements. There are:

  • The Core Service
  • The Facilitating Service
  • The supporting Service

The core service is the reason for being in the market. An institution exists because it equips people with skills and abilities in shaping their careers. Faculty expertise and the accumulated experience at the institution represent the core resource for supplying this benefit.

However, in order to make it possible for students to avail these services, additional services are required. A registration and admission service, class schedules, counseling service enabling the students make relevant specialization programmes offered, and library facility are required so that the students are facilitated in deriving the benefits of the core service ie: The Learning. These services are called the facilitating services. It is important for the planners to realize that if the facilitating services are not adequately provided, the core benefit cannot be consumed in full.

Sometimes tangible goods are also required to avail the benefit of the core service. Course material, in the form of books and prepared course notes, instruction manuals, computers, class rooms class equipments and infrastructure are the examples of facilitating goods that help access the core service benefit.

The third element of service that goes to make the basic service package is the supporting services. Like facilitating services, these are also auxiliary to the core benefit but their objectives does not lie in facilitating the use of core service rather they are used to enhance the value of the core service benefit and to differentiate the service offer from other comparable offers by others institutions.

An efficient placement and career guidance cell, High quality residential accommodation (hostels with enriched stay experience), good network of exchange relationships with business organizations, do not facilitate the learning process but simply add value to the service offer by adding the utility derived from the total offer.

From managerial viewpoint, it is important to make distinction between facilitating and supporting services. In order to effectively access the core package, the facilitating services are necessary and service and the core service package would collapse, if the facilitating services were not provided.

The policy directive that can be developed here that for highly intangible core service products like higher education, facilitating services should aspire to attain a quality level which enable them to become a competitive strength. Supporting services, which are essentially designed as a means of competition, diminish the value of the educational package if they are lacking. The core service benefit, learning however, can still be derived if the supporting services are deficient or absent.

Thus in planning the total educational package offer, therefore the focus of the concern is not the course alone, the package has to be seen as a total offer along with its facilitating and supporting services. As educational planners identify that student perceptions are also affected by inputs other than the core service, attention needs to be focused on the accessibility, interaction and student participation aspects as well as basic service offer, so that the augmented education service offering can be effectively created and positioned.
 


D.V.Ramana Murthy
Senior Faculty
P.G. Dept of Commerce & Management Studies
The Hindu College
Machilipatnam
Guest Faculty
Dept of Business Management
Krishna University
Machilipatnam
Director & Core Faculty
Attitude+ve, Behavioural Training Solutions
Machilipatnam
 

Source: E-mail February 20, 2011

          

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