Education in Singapore has a vibrancy that has seen the establishment of many tertiary institutions. Apart from the three autonomous universities, viz Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore and the Singapore Management University, there is a contingent of internationally affiliated and nationally established private Universities that offer comprehensive programmes. In this diversity, students are spoilt for choices and a number of factors guide selection on which institution one attends.
Students graduate from GCE “A” level education to join the private and tertiary colleges across the country. The private universities and tertiary training institutions offer even greater avenue of choices than the public institutions that rely on central selections. In this way, students join these private educational institutions under a liberal criteria. The choice thus depends on the natural processes of selection that are influenced by determinants such as the cost of services, the quality of education, influences occasioned by fellow students and parents and other external factors such as location and natural affiliations to the institution of choice.
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This study adventured into the characteristic behaviour of students in the choice process, before and during their initial days of making decisions, what affects their decisions and how these decisions influence their choice of institutions to join. Needless to say, the process of choice relies on perception built prior to making choices. This study focused on the process of choosing and what determines this choice, if there are specific lines of choice and what implicates the choice have on future establishments of these private colleges.
Choice of an institution to attend were found to rely on the perception of the students on the kind of services offered in the institutions they wanted to join again, these choices largely depended on the cost of programs offered and were also observed not to depend on the association a student had with the institution before as long as he/she considered the institution prestigious enough to suite his ego. Of the 76 respondents of the study, 92% acknowledged that the associated cost of learning affects their choice most. 88% of respondents in this study attributed their choice to prior communication while 65% associated their choice to prestige of the institutions.
From the conduct of this study, the researcher felt that the main objective of this study-behaviours affecting the choice of tertiary public education- was met although further and extensive study should be done to confirm, with greater certainty, the general behaviour across the country. A greater sample size would be appropriate to minimize errors associated with under representation.
Foremost, I direct my appreciation to my supervisor Prof/Dr/Mr Xxxxxxxxxxx whose guidance and insights has enabled me reach this far.
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