Wednesday, 11 January 2012

The marketing of the Education Business.

The Marketing of higher Education; The uniqueness of Kenyan universities.
KCPE results are just out, Pupils did their best, some schools too did well, others didn’t, and some counties too did embarrass Kenya. Kisii or is Nyamira county. They are back in the news, this time not for Onyancha, witchcraft, the criminal gangs but POOR results.
Well this isn’t what I intend to write about, Kisii people will sort out their issues, am  just interested in the marketing of the education business.
First and foremost my focus is on private primary and schools. Its good business, parents pay up to half a Million in some schools, however you have to assure parents that their lazy kids will get good grades. These schools don’t start off with the good grades; it takes time to achieve that. Kenyans found a good way of getting good results in a shorter time, why don’t you just have a class of 40 people, poach 20 bright brains from good schools, accommodate those who want to repeat but with fairly good brains. The effect of this is a school that will be the best in the district, province or even county in the KCPE exams. Parents are ever looking for good performing schools to take their kids. The same school that wasn’t known two years ago is now flocking with kids seeking admission. The owner charges higher fees, puts up better facilities, hires great teachers and the school can maintain its performance.
Look at the top school in this years KCPE from Bungoma, the school had 32 candidates,28 of them had above 400 marks. The other 4 had marks ranging between 391 to 400!what will happen to the school this January?
Higher education on its bit is a bit different, here the options are several, the courses offered are also quite many to choose from. This has lead to serious marketing campaigns and competition among players in this sector. However some colleges and universities are churning useless graduate who do not have skills. We have had several colleges being blacklisted by the commissioner of higher education.A recent case in Masinde muliro university where engineering graduates could not be registered by Engineering registry board is a case to ponder on. What will happen to these people?
I took a closer look at various universities and colleges to check what they are best in.
Nairobi university.
The school has a legacy and achievements. It still possesses article THE in its name.Am proud to be there too. Some of the country’s best doctors, engineers, lawyers, architects and accountants have been here.UON is widely respected in the corporate world.i am not bragging, But we got something! You will not see UON advertising frequently on the media for courses it offers. The facilities at the university are far stretched to accommodate more students. REASON; people know something serious happens here. If you are looking at studying medicine, engineering, commerce and sciences well look for admission here.Apart from the few rioting goons and hecklers in the university,UON remains a respected institution in academia.
The university is highly respected in journalism,media studies, communication and PR.if you are looking at doing anything in that direction..go talk to them. They offer the best. However the school too offers other courses with its main campus in Athi river,ngong rd opp city mortuary and newly opened one in Mombasa.
Their mantra is the future is here. This is a powerful slogan however with reports that they could be churning garbage to the corporate world I beg to differ.  I have heard several complaints from several HR managers about the quality of the business graduates in this university. Their performance is wanting. This is a church run school that offers business courses, health sciences and nursing and computer science plus IT.I clearly do not know what best they are at, however the school has been expanding rapidly since it started. Recently they had wrangles with the Kathurima mugambi refusing to vacate office. When churches looked for places to invest our offering, They thought universities  would do.Education business is a cash cow for these churches. I stand to be corrected. I am not a critic but I would recommend this school. They are running adverts on TV seeking students for the January intake however is still feel they have no unique proposition or niche.Check their website here Kemu University Website
This is my favourite. The privately run school is affiliated to JKUAT. The owner is a young energetic guy. He amazes me. He is the most serious  education marketer. Zetech is on billboards, signage, TV, newspaper, fliers, matatu stickers and DEALFISH..he is doing rather well because the school has several branches in town and westlands.
However my question is what do you want to be known for? The guy offers certificate, diploma and degree courses. You offer courses in hospitality management and travel, accountancy, business courses ,IT and computer science. The list is endless. If I was to work for the zetech brand I would create a unique selling proposition for you. This is basically what you would want to be known for. There is nothing that comes to my mind when zetech is mentioned…I just know they offer EVERYTHING.
Strathmore University.
I have been here for my ACCA. The school’s corporate image and brand is higly respected in the corporate world. The ethics here makes sure they produce all rounded professionally. They are well known for decently dressed clean shaven gentlemen and ladies who dress maturely. In other words we had a dress code and fashion cops who made sure it was strictly followed. They also had a mentorship programme which really helped us. The school grabs kenya’s best brains by accepting mock results from students in national schools. The students here also come from well off schools, a third of the students drove to school, the other third were dropped and picked and for the rest of us we took a matatu or walked from our hostel. If you need anything to do with accountancy, that’s the place. Their IT school is also churning out brilliant tech brains. They also have the Strathmore business school which is a world class business school. Lecturers fly in to teach there!!I am happy I survived Strathmore.strathmore university
Simon gicharu started the university. It was previously known as thika institute of technology. The university is placing itself as a science and technology university. That’s awesome. The school has been expanding rapidly and it has a service charter from the president. Mr Gicharu is building MKU to be the preferred university in the Eastern Africa region. They have campuses in Rwanda and if you remember during the Kenya Uganda derby MKU had sponsored UBC to broadcast the match. It was visible in all the five EAC countries. This university is a must watch in this sector. They have attracted a sizeable large number of students and its now an option to many parents seeking higher for their sons and daughters. The founder too won a MSK warrior award for

Better known as the enterprise university, they claim to be churning graduates who create jobs, not job seekers. The unemployment problem has been a major challenge in Kenya with graduates spending as many as four years looking for jobs. They recently had a business plan competition scouting for ideas among the youth. I am really not in a position to comment on the quality of what they offer, however I just hope they are serious about churning out job seekers. If they could clearly demonstrate that in two years, Guys could flock there!
I will not dwell on writing about each and every school, but I hope you that if you want to learn hospitality management, tours, hotel cooking, food n such things Utalii college is the place. USIU is good for International relations students, finally our good famous K.U. gives us the best teachers in Kenya.
My advice to these universities is to briefly follow the marketing process.
This marketing process is influenced by some environmental factors that can be internal to organization or external to organization.
Marketing does not only involve putting up adverts in the papers and TV,PR doesn’t just involve giving free scholarships, honorary degrees to great people, documentaries on the media. A universities’ corporate image cannot be enhanced by just that. Professionals like me and others can help universities set up serious marketing campaigns and concepts.You just need to focus on what we promise the public. Focus on what you do best.Passing on Knowledge. Have a fruitful 2011.

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