Planning for the Future of Higher Education
While the world has evolved over the past few decades, one thing that has remained largely unchanged is higher education. Although schools have adapted to changes in technology, curriculums remain stagnant. The cost of tuition continues to rise making higher education inaccessible to the average person. This article will discuss the future of higher education and how some of these major problems can be addressed.
Jonathan Osler points out the Covid pandemic has forced administrators, professors and students to change how they think about higher education. Many traditional classrooms, assignments and meetings have gone virtual, and advances in technology continue to ease this transition for everyone. Even in a post pandemic world, virtual learning is key to the future of higher education. This is because it allows students broader access to the programs or schools they want to attend, and they can do so from anywhere in the world.
Another key to the future of higher education is changing the traditional college curriculum in order to better meet the needs of individuals and businesses. Osler acknowledges that holding a degree or certificate now means less than ever before. This is because businesses, jobs, skills and philosophies change on a regular basis, while very few schools are willing to change their programs in response. For this reason, the future of higher education should see colleges redesigning courses and programs to better reflect what specific employers are looking for from prospective employees. By teaching and training students based on what employers expect from them, colleges can drastically increase the value of the degrees and certificates they offer in the future.
The future of higher education may also involve lifetime training and support. Because of how quickly businesses and industries must adapt to economic and technological changes, many college graduates lack the skills and knowledge necessary to take on these changes. The future of higher education should focus on helping alumni succeed just as well as students who are currently enrolled. colleges and universities can accomplish this by offering annual mini courses or training sessions to help their alumni stay educated on any new or changing needs of their occupation or field of choice.
While there are many barriers to higher education, lack of time or money is often at the root of the problem. Between work, family and social life, people are finding it increasingly difficult to dedicate the appropriate amount of time necessary for completing higher education. Also, many of those who do find the time are unable to afford the continually rising cost of attending a college or university. For these reasons, it would not be a surprise to see many schools begin offering bite-size versions of all their different programs. In other words, a business student would be able to get certification in certain aspects of business through a six month or one year program rather than having to complete a full four-year degree. Jonathan Osler believes that this would help students with time management by allowing them to enroll in short programs on their own time, and it would allow them to pick and choose the specific skills they want or need to learn in order to reach their career advancement goals. This would also make higher education more affordable to the masses, because shorter programs with less classes would cost a lot less than a traditional four-year program.