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Selection of an engineering institution: Students’ perceptions of choice characteristics and suitability under the COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 has impacted Indian engineering institutions (EIs) enormously. It has tightened its knot around EIs that forced their previous half-shut shades completely down to prevent the risk of spreading COVID-19. In such a situation, fetching new enrollments on EI campuses is a difficult and challenging task, as students’ behavior and family preferences have changed drastically due to mental stress and emotions attached to them. Historically, during crisis situations, institutions have struggled to return to the normal track. Consequently, it becomes a prerequisite to examine the choice characteristics influencing the selection of EI during the COVID-19 pandemic to make it ‘normal’ for ‘new’ enrollments.
The purpose of this study is to critically examine choice characteristics that affect students’ choice for EI and consequently to explore relationships between institutions’ characteristics and the suitability of EI during the COVID-19 pandemic across students’ characteristics. Quantitative research, conducted through a self-reported survey composed of a closed-ended structured questionnaire, was purposefully incorporated into the students who recently were enrolled in EIs (batch years 2020-2021) belonging to the North Maharashtra region of India.
The findings of this study revealed dissimilarities across students’ characteristics regarding the suitability of EIs under pandemic conditions. Regression analysis revealed that EI characteristics such as proximity, image and reputation, quality education and curriculum delivery have significantly contributed to suitability under COVID-19. At the micro level, multiple relationships were noted between EI characteristics and the suitability of EI under the pandemic across students’ characteristics.
Bringing ‘normality’ to ‘new’ enrollments totally depends on EI’s resilience in meeting the needs of diversity in the COVID-19 pandemic situation, which repositions themselves to govern student-centric strategies instituted for the overall suitability of EI under pandemic conditions. The study has successfully demonstrated how choice characteristics can be executed to regulate the ‘suitability’ of EI under the COVID-19 pandemic for the inclusion of diversity. It is useful for policy makers and academicians to reposition EIs that fetch diversity during the pandemic. This study is the first to provide insights into the performance of choice characteristics and their relationship with the suitability of EIs under a pandemic and can be a yardstick in administering new enrollments.