TRACER STUDY OF AIT GRADUATES 2003 - 2008. Punya Prasad Regmi Consultant / Researcher. PRESENTATION HIGHLIGHTS. Tracer Studies in AIT Tracer Study of AIT Graduates (2003 to mid 2008) Research Methodology Results and Discussions Key Findings and Recommendations. TRACE STUDIES IN AIT.
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TRACER STUDY OF AIT GRADUATES2003 - 2008
Punya Prasad Regmi
Consultant / Researcher
Graduates by Region
Individual main function at work: Out of 816 respondents, 41 % reported project implementation, management (28%), teaching (22%), research analysis / policy inputs (21%) and knowledge and information dissemination (19%).
Job Position before AIT by Economic Categories
Figure 5.1: Target Graduates by Schools and Graduation Year
Reasons of the poor and very poor ratings: weak practical aspects, inadequate facilities, less cooperating and less helping in thesis supervision, high course fee but poor learning materials, high politics among instructors, and heterogeneity in the background of the students and diversity in teaching that had to be compromised.
Compared with the last job before AIT, an upward shift was found for management (28 to 36 percent) and for research analysis / policy inputs (21 percent to 27 percent).
ANOVA Results for the AIT Graduation Year (6 Categories) and Salaries
Wilcoxon Signed Ranks and Pearson Chi-Square Tests for Job Ranks and Gender
Employment History and Job Relevancy of AIT Studies
Altogether 289 respondent AIT graduates provided the list of 757 development projects / research studies in which they had significantly contributed after graduation from AIT.
Suggestions for Generating More Resources and Financial Viability
Suggestions for the Future Direction of AIT
Suggestions for Strengthening Relation / Partnerships with Alumni
Nationality: the largest number (31) was constituted by Thai nationals followed by Cambodian (11), Vietnamese (10), Nepali (7) and 4 each from Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, and USA
Job Position: working as Manager and Director (23), Professional (17), Head of the units (10), Deputy Director (7), Dean (4), President (2) and each 1 for Rector, Vice President, Vice Dean, Deputy Head and Captain
Prospects of AIT Graduate in Job Markets as Perceived by Employers
Strength: ability to work under pressure, to work in a multicultural environment, capacity to grasp new issues quickly, curiousness and creative, trustworthy, good command in English language, good attitude, and confidence in assigned responsibility, having good knowledge and skills, self-motivated, having related work experience, research ability, and ability to work in a team.
Weaknesses: low level of leadership quality, lack of attention to details, lack of management skills, over smart, over confidence, domineering: too focused doing it my way, and too fast in responding to unhappy things.
Job positions: ranging from Teaching Assistant to Head of the Department in the academic institutions and officer level to Manager or Director Levels including Pilot and Nurse.
The first tracer study was done in 1971. The periodic tracing of AIT alumni focuses on updating the alumni directory and gathering certain information required for the improvement of AIT curriculum, teaching, research, extension, and networking. As of January, 2009, altogether 14 AIT Alumni tracer studies have been conducted, including this one.
Regularly in an annual basis individual tracer study by each field of study and a comprehensive tracer study by AIT in every five year is recommended.
A partial tracer study of all AIT graduates in view of the potential senior graduates’ influential position to assist to their Alma Matter. A two step survey will be more appropriate. In the first step a census survey based on one page questionnaire for the current contact details and current job profile and based on this the second step a sample survey of the most representative and potential for the partnerships with AIT is recommended.
The target population was 3996 constituted by 62 percent males and 38 percent females. Although these graduates represented 60 countries more than 53% percent belong to Thailand and Vietnam. The other countries with large number of target graduates are India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar, China, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Pakistan, France, Bhutan, Philippines and Korea. Altogether 1121 submitted the completed questionnaires among them 445 (40%) were female respondents. The respondent graduates were from 22 countries and mainly from East Asia and Pacific and South Asia regions. Majority (59%) of the respondent graduates was from LIC followed by 41 percent from LMC.
AIT graduates in LIC and in Asia have positive impacts in natural resource management, poverty alleviation, gender empowerment, energy, environment, infrastructure and communication sector and in turn sustainable development. Therefore, AIT should further intensify its roles mainly targeting to produce more capable human resources for LIC and Asia to meet their educational and development needs.
The research method followed a kind of census survey targeting all the 3996 AIT graduates (2003 to mid 2008). Out of total respondent graduates, 600 (54%) sent the completed questionnaires by email as an attachment files, 426 respondents (38%) submitted through online, and remaining 95 respondents (8%) sent by post or in person to the researcher during personal interview. The quality of response is better in the questionnaires received from the personal interview. AIT Alumni National Chapters were mainly constituted by the most senior ones and there was a gap between seniors and juniors which posed some difficulties in approaching recent ones through seniors.
The quality of response found better in personal interview methods. At least 25 percent of the response should be constituted by the personal interview in futures while doing similar research. The response rate also higher in countries where visits were made by the researcher. Therefore more number of visits with more time in the fields will increase response rate and quality of the responses.
The recent contact details would help to get better rate of response and also save the time as well cost of the research. Therefore, AIT should update contact details regularly.
A substantial proportion (38%) of the respondents AIT graduates submitted questionnaires through online. Most of them suggested for the easy access to the AIT Website. Therefore, AIT should consider this issue so that this approach can be used more effectively in futures.
AIT database system has to be improved so that some of the key information such as scholarship types, number of head counts and degrees (some has got more than two degrees), and current contact details of alumni should be readily available. Therefore the proposed field of study level tracer study will be helpful in many ways.
The effectiveness and relevance of AIT degree was viewed as a resource and credential for employment/job placement upon graduation from AIT. Immediately after graduation from AIT, 95 percent of Thai and 85 percent of Non-Thai respondent graduates chose to remain in or return to own countries, respectively. A vast majority (85%) of the actual responding graduates reported that they are employed in various jobs at present and 8 percent were found involved in study programs for their further academic career advancements. A large majority in both gender (34 percent of males and 30 percent of females) indicated that their jobs were confirmed even before graduation from AIT. As indicated, AIT studies have been exactly related for a large majority of them (57%) followed by partly related for 39 percent
The AIT degree have contributed significantly in getting new jobs even confirmed before graduation for a substantial proportion of the respondent AIT graduates. This seems that AIT degree has been very effective for employment and job placement; however, from the relevancy point of view AIT should consider to increase the proportion for “exactly related” as 39 percent of the working AIT graduates had indicated that the AIT degree is “somewhat/partially” related.
The comparison of professional status and ranks of the AIT graduates was made considering the last job before AIT and the current job after graduation from AIT. The junior level of position was found predominant for the last job before AIT as 75 percent males and 80 percent females indicated for the same. However, the middle level was found in largest proportion for the current job positions of both gender (73 percent males and 71 percent females). This clearly indicated that AIT studies have significantly contributed in job status/ranks. A large majority (39%) of the AIT graduates was receiving salaries in the range of 201 to 500 US$/month for the last job before AIT. In contrast, for the current job, majority (33%) respondents indicated salaries in the range of 501 to 1000 US$/month. This means the AIT degrees have enormous contribution in both job ranks as well salary levels.
The AIT studies have contributed significantly in getting new jobs with higher ranks and higher salaries for both male and female AIT graduates. AIT should develop a network with the better ranked and high salary receiving graduates soon so that the scope of job market of the AIT graduates could be further widened. The proposed partial tracer study to all AIT graduates will be helpful for this matter.
The substantial proportion of AIT graduates has got higher and better paid as well as international positions. Out of the 963 responding AIT graduates, 72 percent indicated that knowledge and skills gained from the course works have been highly and very highly useful. Similarly, the knowledge and skills gained from the AIT research, workshops/field visits; staying at multicultural / international environment; networking with peers, professors, and staff; and by overall program has been reported as highly and very highly useful by 71 percent, 61 percent, 70 percent, 63 percent, and 73 percent, respectively. Amongst 777 responded AIT graduates, 222 (29%) reported about their further studies after graduation from AIT. The overall scenario of the contribution of the AIT graduates in the scientific, educational and professional fields is encouraging, particularly in research and publication, membership in the professional organizations, consulting works, participation and paper presentations in the international conferences and seminars. The remarkable contributions are visible from the list of their contributions in various scientific and educational fields.
Since majority of the AIT graduates are involved in academic institutions and contributing a lot in various scientific, educational, and professional field; AIT should develop a mechanism to get their copies of publications for AIT Library and look at the different possibilities of research collaboration with them.
Comparing the influential position of jobs before AIT and after AIT, a substantial proportion has moved to the international / regional organizations which have enormous contribution to AIT’s mission. AIT should take initiative to foster partnerships with such graduates.
The target AIT graduates were requested to list professional and social networks including AITAA. Altogether 243 respondent AIT graduates reported professional and social networks in which they were involved or affiliated. Only 110 (45%) indicated their affiliation with AITAA and related organizations. Majority of the respondent AIT graduates (54%) has networks in the national level followed by global level (27%) and regional level (19%). Ninety-one percent indicated that their membership type in the professional or social networks is general and 9 percent reported as executive types. The degree of involvement varies among different members of the social and professional networks. The higher proportion (36%) indicated as medium level of involvement followed by high level (24%), low level (20%), very high level (13%) and very low level by 7 percent of the responding AIT graduates.
AIT should take an initiative to strengthen the AITAA National Chapters so that all the AIT graduates could get membership and participate in any activities related to AIT and AITAA. Only 45 percent indicated their affiliation with AITA which indicate that the network of AITAA is not strong. The Association needs to do more in strengthening relationship among members so that they can perceive its value.
The National Chapter committee should select /elect at least one AIT graduate from each graduation batch as a coordinator of that particular batch for their national chapter so that s/he will be responsible to bridge the present gaps between senior and junior alumni.
When the frequencies of major foci of the contributed projects or research studies were analyzed, 16 percent of the respondent AIT graduates reported their contribution in gender awareness and application. Thus the involvement of AIT graduates in gender and development projects and research studies seems very low which is obvious due to the fact that a vast majority of them had AIT degrees from other than related field of study. The employers and peers of the AIT graduates were requested to judge the level of gender awareness and application of the AIT graduates including their other aspects of the works. The very high and high levels of ratings was done by the 79 percent of employers and 84 percent of the peers. It indicates that even if their academic degree is not from the related field of study, AIT graduates are aware and contributing for gender and development.
Certainly the gender awareness and application is necessary for the sustainable and equitable development, it is recommended that student undergoes some sort of training, either a course or short training or inclusive of thesis/dissertation research so that future AIT graduates can make more contribution on gender and development matters.
Majority (55%) of the AIT graduates had an impression that the teaching quality in AIT is very good followed by good (29%) and excellent (15%). Seventy-percent and 72 percent indicated as high and very high level of flexibility in choice in masters’ research topic and doctoral dissertation topic, respectively. Eighty-four percent of employers rated as very high and high levels of performance on knowledge and technical skills on given task. Same levels of performances were indicated by 92 percent of the employers on positive attitude of AIT graduates towards sustainable development. Fifty-five percent considered as high, 28 percent for medium, 16 percent for very high and 1 percent for low on English proficiency of the AIT graduates. Eighty-eight percent of the respondent employers considered very high and high levels of job performance on team work. Ninety-two percent of the respondent employers found job performance as very high and high on ability to interact with expatriate. The very high and high levels of ratings was done by 96 percent of responding employers on commitment/dedication to the work, 92 percent indicated on work efficiency, 90 percent for work competency, and 79 percent on gender awareness and application. Regarding the prospects of AIT graduates in the job markets, 81 percent of the responding employers considered that there is a high and very high prospect.
The AIT graduates have shown their concern with the quality of teaching and research at AIT and provided valuable suggestions for strengthening AIT targeting its future graduates. Their suggestions are related to teaching, course, research, management and consulting works which have to be well considered by AIT.
Altogether 289 respondent AIT graduates provided the list of 757 development projects / research studies in which they had significantly contributed after graduation from AIT. Out of these 289 responding graduates 232 had involved in two projects, 133 had contributed for 3 projects, 61 had worked for 4 projects and 42 had even contributed significantly for 5 projects after graduation from AIT. The major foci of the contributed projects or research studies were found to environment as indicated by 66 percent of the respondent graduates followed by infrastructure / transport / communication (59%), natural resource management (38%), policy analysis (37%), economics / marketing / management (34%), poverty alleviation (34%), energy (32%), capacity development (25%), agriculture / rural development (18%), gender awareness and application (16%), and human rights / peace building and health including HIV/AIDS (3%). The respondent AIT graduates were also inquired for their types of contribution to projects or research studies in terms of design, implementation, supervision, and monitoring and evaluation. Multiple responses were received since same person could contribute in only one type or more than one types. The highest proportion of them (88%) was found for project implementation followed by project design (77%), and 56 and 54 percent for project supervision and monitoring and evaluation, respectively.
Although, one can not deny the high demand and importance of environment, information technology, infrastructure development, and business management; at the same time, more focus on poverty alleviation, agricultural/rural development, gender awareness and application is to be given. To fulfill this gap, it is recommended to lunch a strong integrated and interdisciplinary program by AIT.
Salary of the job before AIT
Table 4.1: Type of Main Function at Work before AIT
Salary of Current Job
Returnee and Non-returnee Respondents by Country
38 percent of the AIT graduates had middle level of job positions for the last job before coming, which increased to 67 percent for the same level of position in case of the current job