Universities look to attract students

The Polish educational market is becoming more and more aggressive as the number of candidates decreases every year. There are two reasons: a population decline and the emigration of young people abroad.
In 2005, the number of students decreased by 10,000. The Main Statistical Office in Warsaw calculated then that in five years time the number of young people aged 19-24 will decrease by 600,000 and in 10 years by 1.1 mln. In 2016 there will be about 40 per cent less graduates than now. Universities in fear of their own futures are competing with offers for future students.
Bielawa, where the Didactic Center of Wroclaw’s Polytechnic was established, offers students free transport throughout the city and also from nearby Dzierzoniow, a free swimming pool, fitness center, gym and sauna. It gives away tickets for cultural events organized by the city, such as the Reggae Dub Festival, and free tickets to the cinema.
“Future faculties ? for example, renewable energy sources or modern technical support ? are not enough. That is why we will propose even more for young people,” said Lukasz Masyk of the city council in Bielawa. “We don’t pauperize and many people will be encouraged to study.”
Recently the community offered a course to help graduates pass the exam to attend Polytechnic. About 100 people took advantage of the opportunity. Among them was Maria Jankowicz.
She does not know if she will continue her studies but if she does, she will choose Bielawa. “I will not have to pay for riding and I will be able to benefit from free entertainment,” she said. “The swimming pool is expensive; that is why I cannot swim more than once a week. It is worth studying just for the bonuses.”
To encourage students to attend the university, rectors are using more sophisticated advertising. Educational fairs, information brochures and traditional press advertisements are out of date.
Research conducted among students at one of Wroclaw’s universities showed that over 90 per cent of them got their information about the university from the Internet.
That is why in Walbrzych at the Higher Education School of Marketing and Enterprise, it is possible to ask questions about enrollment through Internet communicator Gadu-Gadu.
“The Internet communicator Gadu-Gadu is very popular among the young,” says Dominika Twardowska of the Higher Education School of Marketing and Enterprise. Most often, the questions are about payments and documents. Students get the answers immediately.
Universities also compete for foreign students. In Great Britain, Holland and Austria, as many as 50 per cent of the students are foreign. But in Poland, about 5 percent of the students are foreign. In addition, foreign students also are sought for short-term courses at Polish language schools and the Socrates-Erasmus program.
“Foreigners at university mean more money and additional prestige,” says Dr. Hannah Mausch, the chairman of University Center of International Education of Adam Mickiewicz University.

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