Students prefer to study at digital universities: Accenture survey

The worldwide survey determines a strong need for universities to use digital technology in the curriculum. 

It is no secret that students across the world spend a large amount of time on digital platforms. Mobile phones, computers, laptops and tablets are just some of the devices that have become indispensible for information as well as entertainment. Accenture's recent worldwide survey emphasises that this need for digital technology strongly manifests itself among students while choosing an university for higher education.

According to 85 per cent of college bound students from India, Australia, Singapore, United States of America and the United Kingdom, who formed part of the survey sample, digital capabilities such as integration of technology into classrooms, virtual coursework and online classes are top determinants while choosing a university.
In case of India, 98 per cent of the students evaluated the digital technology infrastructure of a University before securing admission. “A digital platform attracts more attention, is not as mundane as books and is thus easier to learn from,” says Binit Demta, first year degree college student from Bangalore. Reddy Eswara who completed his graduation from Andhra Pradesh agrees and adds, “It can help generate interest among students and enable them to learn a subject better.”

In addition to giving priority to digital technologies, the survey results also show that 50 per cent of Indian students obtained information about universities from college, while the multi country average stood at 32 per cent. “Nowadays, right from kindergarten, schools are offering classroom technology as well as online learning mediums. Thus students obviously want to choose a higher education institute that is inclined towards technology,” says Ashutosh Modi, executive director, EntrancePrime, an online learning portal.

The survey also underlined that ‘cost of studying’ often led them to reconsider or alter their preferred choice of university. “Money is the first thing we think of before going to study abroad. The cost of education and residence is often too high,” says Demta. Although most universities abroad have better digital infrastructure than Indian institutions, the survey result revealed that Indians were happier with their university experience. While 92 per cent Indian students rated their experience as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, the score for Australia was significantly low at 82 per cent.

While students want technology to be available, according to Modi, they do not always make full use of it. “It may be due to bandwidth constraints or lack of monitoring infrastructure. These technologies need to be embedded within curriculum rather than existing as an optional aid,” he says.