COVID-19: Sannam S4 Education Team Sentiment Snapshot [Week 6, April 20 –24]

Key Highlights:

  • Student outlook during the current situation

  • Education Stakeholder outlook

  • Agent Outlook

  • Overall Sentiment of the Education Market

  • How do we Engage our Stakeholders?

  • Current Focus

  • Key Challenges

  • Top most Student queries

  • Support extended by Institutions

Published weekly, the COVID-19 education team sentiment snapshot highlights information drawn from a survey conducted every week in an effort to gather on-ground intelligence from our education team to assist all our stakeholders (students, Universities, Agents, etc.) in preparing for the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing COVID-19 situation. This snapshot presents the insights from a survey conducted with our on-ground education team in India from April 20 to April 24, 2020 and captures how the sentiments have evolved since past week. All of our survey results have come in after the extension announcement of the country-wide lockdown in India till 3rd May’2020.

We surveyed 42 of our in-country representatives for various Universities across Australia, Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

Key Findings from our survey:

Student Outlook:

  • Uncertain (48%)
  • Positive (29%)
  • Neutral (19%)
  • Negative (4%)

Education Stakeholder outlook

  • Neutral (45%)
  • Uncertain (33%)
  • Positive (22%)

Agent Outlook

  • Neutral (40%)
  • Uncertain (38%)
  • Positive (18%)
  • Negative (4%)

Overall Sentiment of the Education Market

  • Uncertain (43%)
  • Neutral (32%)
  • Positive (22%)
  • Negative (3%)

There has been a slight shift in sentiments this week. Student outlook is slightly more positive than has been in the past 5 weeks. Uncertainty is still a prime sentiment, however, the negative outlook has reduced from the past weeks.

  • Our entire education team continues to suggest the use of multiple channels to drive deeper engagement with stakeholders.
  • Email (93%) and WhatsApp (86%) continue to dominate as a preferred choice for the education team to Engage with Stakeholders. 86% are also using Phone Calls along with 24% of our education team using Skype. Zoom continues to be popular amongst the education team this week as well with 74% of them using it to engage stakeholders, indicating a continuation of 2% dip week on week. Microsoft Teams is still one of the popular choices for the team with 18% of our Education team using it, to communicate and engage with the stakeholders.
  • The major focus of the education team this week has been Student Counseling (67%) and Agent Fairs (64%). Conversion (60%) is still an important focus area for the team along with a focus on Planning (50%) on how to manage the current situation since the market dynamics are evolving rapidly. 
  • The Education Team indicated spending 40-60% of their time this week on Student Counseling and Engaging Stakeholders, while the remaining time was spent on Conversion, Planning, and Agent Fairs.
  • Is the market ready to accommodate the current challenge? We are almost there, with 90% of the education team suggesting that more than 25% of the agent fairs are now online, indicating a continuation of the positive shift of the market to address the current situation.
  • 67% of our education team has attended more than 6 agent fairs online and 17% of the team indicated attending 2-5 online agent fairs since the lockdown. 45% of the team attended more than 4 online agent fairs in the last week alone.
  • Experience/ Learning from online Agent Fairs: 36% of the team indicated that the students attending the fair are more focussed, suggesting that there may be a possibility of a better conversion rate with online fairs. 22% of the team also highlighted that the number of leads generated via online fairs are far less and it is largely the offer holders that are attending the fairs. 18% team also felt that currently, online fairs are not as effective as 1-on-1 counseling.
  • 14% of the education team indicated improvement in the pre-counselling of students this week. However, 36% of the team suggests a need for further improvement.  The 24% team also suggests that the online agent fairs should have group counseling slots along with individual dedicated time slots for each student
  • For reaching out to students for undergraduate programs, 48% of the education team is focussing on special agent events, 30% on career seminars by counselors and rest by career platforms for schools.
  • Key Challenges: Uncertainty around intake/Visa (74%) and Student queries around the impact of COVID-19 (69%) continue to be key challenges for the team to address along with postponement and cancellation of Exams and results (51%).
  • What do our students want to know? University Preparedness for COVID-19 (75%) along with deferral related queries (66%) continue to be topmost concerns for our students. Students are increasingly raising extension requests (54%) along with a significant number of students being concerned with the impact of online classes on the degree (61%) and delay in results (59%) 
  • Support from Institutions: The majority of the institutions (74%) are providing continuous support on how to manage the ongoing situation. Also, 67% of institutions are providing quick/ regular updates to the students and 60% institutions are providing access and support for digital tools.
  • 86% of the education team feels prepared and confident to address concerns from students and parents. The majority of the team is also requesting more clarity on the plan and policies for the upcoming intake to be better prepared to handle queries from parents and students.

Top queries from students:

Support provided by Institutions:

Most of the student concerns are still around University Preparedness for COVID-19 (75%) and majority of the institutions (67%) are continuing to provide quick/regular updates to students to address these concerns. This week, we continue to notice high number of deferral or refund related queries from students (66%), a slight decline of 5% from last week. Impact of delay in results (59%) is still a pressing concern for our students. Majority of the institutes (74%) are supporting our education team on how to manage the ongoing situation and have given advisory and set up response teams (48%) along with institutes increasingly providing access and support for digital tools (60%) to address student concerns in a timely manner.

Next week, we will also share how agent sentiments have evolved from our initial findings.

Stay tuned and be safe!

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