Money and AcademicsDifferent schools and learning institutions perform differently in terms of providing better academic services. The output is measured using the student output both in the academic and the professional field. However, the underpinnings that characterize all these learning institutions that offer outstanding performances seem to boil down to finances.
All schools world wide that display outstanding performance hugely rely on research activities. On the other hand, schools that have no enough funds to support research projects are left confined to pure classroom academics. Research activities expand the scope of the learner’s understanding in a practical manner, thus not only helping to deeply inculcate a concept in the student’s mind, but also equips the same with the capacity to apply knowledge practically. To underscore this fact, all governments in the developed economies disburse funds to learning institutions to boost research activities. In Ohio State University alone, a big fraction of its 750 American Dollars, which has been partially sourced by the Federal government, has been slotted for research activities which will take the shape of field work and internet connectivity. Moreover, the top nine American benchmarks of the research universities are rated highly in academic performance in America. Within this rubric are the Arizona University, Illinois University, Minnesota University, Michigan University, Texas University, the Pennstate University, Wisconsin University, the Washington University and the UCLA (National Science Foundation, 1979).
Money playing a pivotal role in eliciting sound academic performance is always concomitant with qualified and well trained teaching and non teaching staff. A qualified teaching staff is always instrumental in explaining both simple and complex concepts in the most effective way, while on the other hand, a qualified non teaching staff ensures effective and efficient coordination and administration of the school. A school that is well administered has all the strategies for success to follow through and does so efficiently. All the intellectual and academic resources that are brought into a common pool ensure success. Learning institutions that are short of finance cannot afford the payment of such personnel. Schools with efficient teaching facilities have better accruals compared to those that lack these. Primary learning facilities such as lecture halls, and writing boards are much needed for effective learning. Schools with dilapidated lecture halls, writing boards, seats and light will definitely produce stunted academic results. Conversely, secondary learning facilities such as laboratories, libraries and computers are also very important if there is to be academic success. Libraries ensure accessibility of information and also shields away distraction while the computer enhances and maintains quick access of knowledge.
All top leading learning institutions have adapted the computers which have been installed with the fiber optic cables. Apart from this, their libraries are well supplied with computers which are serviced with the internet. Even the Ohio state university’s one of the smallest branches in the Sillicon Valley has connection with research universities. Almost all researches that aim at ranking universities peg their judgments on internet connectivity in relation to accessibility of information and research output. All these facilities call for money.
The schools’ ability to create and sustain departments that provide aids to learning such as counseling centers, centers for linkages and exchange programs is not automatic since their maintenance call for huge capital to maintain the workforce and other running expenses. Centers for linkages apart from establishing direct links between the students and potential employers, also feeds the student fraternity with information on internship opportunities and advise the student on the courses to take in relation to the dynamics of the employment market as well.
Exchange programs on the other hand oversee the interschool transfers to help willing students acquire a wider global perspective both on the scope of life and in the field of study. To underscore the importance of counseling in academic excellence, the UCLA University for instance, has the Academic Advantage Program, a counseling center at the UCLA campus to ensure academic based counseling and mentoring program for the 6,000 undergraduates with a dominant aim of bolstering academic excellence.
The need for academic based counseling is so rife that centers such as Costello Center which has no affiliation to any school whatsoever, have emerged to offer these services to students who are concerned with the need to realize personal growth in terms of personal, academic, career and social goals. In addition to this, mental health services are offered by the same institutions (Clarke, 2003).
Learning institutions that have enough money to support these arrangements have higher propensity to produce more intellectuals than institutions that are financially challenged.
Educational institutions that are endowed with enough resources have the capability to sustain continuous spates of free public lectures, talks from professionals, and forums. These programs are of untold values since they do not only allow open dissemination of information or knowledge due to open attendance, but also through the questioning and answering methodology, the student fraternity is challenged to seek more information by further reading. Besides, these schools that are privileged enough to support debates and quiz competitions boost academic dexterity among students.
The concept of rewards and punishment are well known and has been recommended by psychologists, educationists and sociologists to be a very effective methodology in teaching and learning. This concept involves rewarding desirable traits and punishing bad ones. Since it is innate in man the desire to have one’s efforts appreciated, it has been the practice of many to use the concept of rewards to motivate hard work so as to elicit good performance. Having known the impact of this methodology, the federal government through the Boston Police Athletic League recently stepped in to congratulate over 100 students for their outstanding performance records.
A similar case to this is that one of Charlotte Hand, a Bachelor of Education student in English language, linguistic studies and literature. The above student had given up on pursuing her educational programs due to inability to service her school fees until when she heard of the UCLA’ s incentives that come in the form of rewards of raw academic excellence. Many institutions such as the Ede and Ravenscroft which issue academic gowns in each graduating ceremony and also give 1,000 pounds to the Combined Honors Department to reward non finalists who have an excellent academic track record have increased in number.
All these are but few illustrations that stress the importance of issuing of rewards to increase the zest in academic excellence. Schools with large pools of resources are able to achieve this feat and even to stretch it to a broader extent while the financially distressed learning institutions can do this but only in a much constrained condition (Dirks, Elley and Oriner, 1994).
Whenever money and resource are scarce, there is a direct effect on school’s examining program by limiting it to the traditional method of examining which is solely exam based. This conventional method of testing is limited in its scope since it does not delve on all the topics and is always occasional. One of the demerits of this procedure is that it places labels on students with low marks as weak, or poor. This stigmatization in turn plummets the student’s ability to learn. In the same wavelength, these financially challenged educational institutions on the backdrop of financial challenges are not able to obtain external exams that would capture well the expected standards of the rest of the students within the learning fraternity.
However, other learning institutions are able to embrace more comprehensive methods of examining the students so that their other talents are discovered and nourished as the weak areas are worked on. This has a cathartic effect on the stigma, and therefore accords the student with the chance to improve on feeble areas. Conversely, learning institutions that are bedeviled by financial problems are not able to procure the services of the external markers, making the students vulnerable to subjectivity.
This problem is not familiar in developed economies but is very rampart in the developing economies where the latter problem was being exploited by unscrupulous college and university lecturers to award marks to students in exchange of sexual favors. The African continent is rife with such cases. Ameliorations are however being seen in pockets of Africa such as Kenya which has adopted the methodology of using external markers in the end of semester exams since the dawn of the 21 century.
Schools and learning institutions that have the financial capability to accord student with learning incentives such as bursaries and educational loans also boost the students’ academic output compared to those that do not. This is because the anxiety that sets in resulting from lack and the fear that occurs out of the anticipation of being dismissed or being suspended from learning always have a reducing effect on one’s the academic output. Just as a government that does not offer learning incentives should not anticipate an intellectually rich population, so should a school that does not issue bursaries and scholarship services to its students expect academic results that only maintain the status quo.
It is true that there are cases where students excel in financially challenged schools but this fact must be taken into consideration with the ratio that do not make it in the same schools. The fact that only one student manages decent grades from an institution that is financially challenged is a pointer to the truth that there are many pupils with vast untapped potential from the disadvantaged schools due to the adverse socio-economic conditions.
Clarke, C. H. (2003). Growth of Canadian universities. US: UBC. Press.
Dirks, B. N., Elley, G., Ortner, B. S. (1994). A reader in contemporary social
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National Science Foundation (1979).Importance of maintaining
Research excellence.US: NAS