Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Growing importance of PR in education

The Times of India has carried an interesting report last week.

Kamini Mathai’s Chennai datelined report City schools get CEOs to market them says, “When it comes to vision, it’s time to call in CEOs. At least that’s what several ‘international’ schools in south are doing in their attempt to get more corporate. So, while principals focus on admissions, academics, results and school activities, the latest trend seems to be to hire CEOs to define organisation structure, do budgeting, financial planning, hiring and firing, advertising and marketing.”

Kamini quotes Harish K E, who has been CEO of Sadhbhavana World School in Kozhikode for the last four years, “Schools today have to follow the four Ps of marketing - product, price, positioning and promotion - just like with any other consumer goods, and that’s where CEOs can help. All the best practices of the corporate world are being brought into school management.”

So Indian international schools are quickly adopting global marketing practices. Following the global best practices, Indian schools and colleges could benefit from public relations focusing on objectives like attracting better students and faculty as also funding.

Way back in 2005, Anna Fazackerley wrote in Times Higher Education of the UK that some universities are spending tens of thousands of pounds on hiring consultants to advise them on public relations, marketing and branding. This was revealed by a Times Higher investigation … Among the big spenders are Leeds University, the University of Central England, Oxford University and Birmingham University.

According to a paper submitted to the Louisiana State University, “college-level presidents understood that educational public relations would be an important tool to guarantee the future success of the colleges. A successful public relations program contributes to the amount and caliber of students attending a university as well as the feelings of alumni toward the college.”

“The role of the public relations officer in the American college and university has undergone dramatic change as a result of several major trends,” writes Machael Radock who had worked as vice president for university relations at the University of Michigan. “These public relations officers have moved from the boiler room to the board room.”


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