Monday, July 07, 2014

Creative destruction in the University system of education in the world..

In two decades, Creative destruction would cause University and Institutional incomes around the world to fall by 30%, 700 Universities world over would get shut down and the rest would need to reinvent themselves..
I was reading the article in Economist on how three main changes happening in the University system worldwide was changing the global education scenario. It struck me very much and I am expanding on the thoughts to give more meat to the argument and the future of higher education..

First major disruptor in higher education is the high cost of formal University type, classroom education. Baumol's disease talks of rising costs in one sector with apparently no increase in productivity due to the increase in costs ( accompanied by a proportional increase in productivity ) in another area. We are not seeing an increase in productivity in higher education area, still the costs keep on rising. As we see the cost of education rising at 1.5 percentage points over inflation in western countries, in India I am sure it is if not higher, at least keeping pace with inflation.

The poor responsibility of the teaching faculty who have a safe and secure job for life, makes many a student migrate to private Institutions where even though one pays a bit more, there is accountability on the teaching faculty to ensure an environment nourishing and intellectually enriching for the students. The migration of quality, experienced staff from government funded institutions to private institutions on promise of high pay and perks, have forced many of the best faculty to move out taking with them bright students too.  This move away from subsidised government funded higher education to private education is quite disturbing in higher education as this is bound to drive up costs of higher education in the developing countries too.

MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Caltech etc are good examples of the same even in US, not to mention of countries like India where Manipal group, Amity, Alliance, SRM, VIT private Universities are surging ahead of government run institutions.

The only government run Institutions in India to still  have some of the old time charm are the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), National Institutes of Technology (NITs),state run Engineering colleges, All India India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), JIPMER Pondicherry and state run and funded Medical colleges.

The second change going to happen is the change in the labour market due to automation. Gone are the days when students interested in studies would come to an Institution which had besides government permission and approval,  the physical infrastructure of classrooms and labs, qualified faculty and a time table to engage classes and evaluate the students over time by means of written exams. According to an Oxford University study, 47% of occupations are now at risk of extinction due to automation. Even the teaching profession can be expected to undergo massive change in the coming two decades. Old jobs will give way to new ones and the only way one can stay ahead of this change is by by constantly updating oneself with the modern tools and sources of knowledge.

Technology is going to be the third greatest disrupting factor in the global education scenario. The new media of education is going to be over the Internet. Like MOOC ( Massive Open Online Courses) have started giving students from across geographical boundaries a cheap and effective way to assimilate knowledge and earn credits and degrees, innovation coming from across the world will see new means of getting knowledge and accumulating credits.

So we see the three major disrupting factors of 1. cost of higher education, 2. change in composition of the labour market and 3. technology, changing the landscape of education in the coming decades.

Whatever knowledge the student accumulates, accrediting it by an accrediting agency is a great challenge as often raised by the puritans in higher educations, and is what finally matters. If the accrediting agencies can be accepted by governments across the globe, then higher education will have no boundaries. The Brazilian govt now runs a govt exam for all online learners to assess their knowledge levels (giving a guarantee for a safe and secure job), irrespective of from where they have acquired the knowledge, on a single platform thus giving them a decent future at par with classroom learners. A similar approach from India and China will spur the number of people climbing on the higher education bandwagon in future to the benefit of the community, society and the world at large. From the existing Gross Enrolment Ratio in Higher Education of 15-18 % in India and China's 30%, this would mean a great revolution in education in India and China in the coming years. Link here ..

If 16 year old Battushig Manganbayar from remote Mongolia could ace the MIT online course on Electronics and Circuits offered over the MOOC site and earn admission to MIT this year, it definitely shows the potential of MOOC in disrupting the delivery of higher education models in the future.

The link on Battushig ..

Better be prepared by indulging in this innovative experience than be left out..


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