I am currently preparing to give a lecture on open education and global
ICT trends next week, and I am doing some readings. The following
article is quite interesting, although a bit controversial, and I
thought I’d just post my notes here.
current participation in LDCs less than 10% will rise to 30%. Will
use methods less common in IDs: distance ed, private institutions,
cross-border operations. Will become more diverse - benefits of
higher access outweigh risk of academia loosing its soul.
International education nothing new - Europe, silk road, religion.
China and India will dominate higher ed. Growth of 8% per year. Not
possible to grow conventional campuses at that rate. Technology can
connect, OERs can slash rates. Three trends mentioned above. India,
because of English, could become dominant provider of tertiary
education within two decades.
Currently only reach privileged. Can new tech and OER radically
widen access? Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid.\
Worldwide growth in enrollment more rapid than anyone expected.
India needs 2400 new universities over the next 25 years?
Educational planners aim to copy yesterday’s successes. Creating
IITs in Africa.\
Affordability. Can for-profit tertiary education work for the public
good? Public/private goods. Externalities.\
Should state be sole provider? Practice, principle and pragmatism
says no. History: very private (churches etc). Regulate, don’t
control. Better to focus researches on free elementary primary
Private tertiary education has become fastest growing segment
worldwide, L-Am, Asia also Africa. East Asia, 80% enrolled in Japan,
South Korea, Taiwan and Philippines. Include for-profit and non-for
profit that are private. Distinctions become blurred as unis become
Fees - countries that made tertiary education free in the days when
only a small elite were supposed to attend. Socio-economic profile
of students in countries that charge fees and provide scholarships
are wider than in those that don’t charge fees. By introducing fees
in public sector, private sector find more level playing field.
Distance: India already 24% of enrolment! Target, 40% by 2010. So
far using India’s edu satellite, but mostly traditional methods. Are
private or government most poised to exploit technology to drive
down price and increase accessibility?
New methods of education has always attracted private providers.
Wave of multi-media distance learning showed that distance-learning
could sometimes provide better quality than normal, because the
courses had to be developed in a much more systematic fashion.
Now: Cost structure with high up-front costs, and low marginal
costs. Private access to capital markets makes that easier for them.
Plus they have access to OERs. Potential for low per-student costs
without huge volumes.
Cross-border education always implies for-profit (almost), even by
public institutions. GATS treaty: consumption abroad, presence of
natural persons, cross-border supply (distance ed), commercial
presence (for-profit branch presence). Lack of appropriateness (just
computer/business, no cultural adaptation). Needs strong
partnerships with overseas provider and local institutions.
Students like “customer focus”, convenience and flexibility,
overseas qualification. But want not just accreditation but inst
with good reputation.
Students in India have to choose between low-quality cash-cow
courses by established universities (Delhi University), or much
higher quality courses by Open Universities that don’t have the same
Quality ensurance: Cross-border operations vulnerable to scams etc.
Governments role will increasingly be to regulate and monitor, not
to provide. Provide parents and students with good information about
quality. UNESCO helping. (South Africa pioneer)
Examples: Best Associates develop M.Ed. programs that fit particular
school systems (in the US) needs, and do so at 1/5 of the cost.
Globally, Best’s Whitney International University System is
expanding rapidly. South America, India, Indonesia, Jordan, Saudi
Arabia. Distance learning that blends remote classroom with
Virtual University of Small States
I found the following statement very interesting:
Fees are a special problem for those countries that made tertiary
education free - i.e., totally subsidized by the state - in the days
when only a tiny proportion of the population was expected to go to
university. At that time entry to tertiary education was highly
competitive but many citizens believed - and still believe - that the
combination of competitive entry and free tuition would produce
equitable participation in tertiary education from all socio-economic
groups. Research now shows that this is simply not true (e.g. Levin,
1990). The socio-economic profile of students in countries that charge
fees while providing scholarships and loans for poorer students is
more broadly based than in those that do not charge fees. This is a
very important finding, and one that governments are gradually finding
the courage to act on.
(His reference, which I should try to hunt down, is Levin, B (1990)
Tuition Fees and University Accessibility, Canadian Public Policy, Vol.
XVI:1 , pp. 51-59 - JSTOR
Coming from a country with universal free higher education (Norway), I
question this statement, although I’d certainly like to know more about
Three things that I came across during this reading:
Best Associates, a US merchant bank, is creating educational
enterprises that are aimed squarely at combining greater learning
effectiveness with dramatically lower costs. At the national level
it is slashing the cost and improving the relevance of professional
development for teachers through the American College of Education.
This for-profit institution, already one of the ten largest teacher
education operations in the USA, teams up with school systems to
offer M.Ed. degrees that meet the schools’ need for teacher
development better than existing programmes and do so at one-fifth
of their cost.At the global level Best’s Whitney International
University System is expanding rapidly, both by acquiring
universities in other countries and creating joint ventures with
existing universities. Having begun its expansion in South America
it is now launching ventures in Morocco, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India
and Indonesia. The mode of delivery is distance learning that blends
the remote-classroom and asynchronous approaches. Lectures from
senior professors are carried to remote classrooms by satellite or
computer and these are underpinned by supporting professors who
interact individually with relatively small groups of students
online. Unlike conventional remote-classroom teaching this model is
scalable because of the network of supporting professors; an
essential feature for achieving a low price point. Another
cost-saving principle is to use existing facilities, study centres
A Chinese academic journal on open education
jiaoyu yanjiu). I’d love to check this out, unfortunately it’s
(ironically!) behind a paywall.