The Future of College

There’s a saying that’s sometimes used by self-help gurus and management/ leadership experts that says that there’s not much point in climbing to the top of the ladder, only to find that the ladder’s leaning against the wrong wall!

Well, the same could well be applied to the process of education. To many students (and parents) today, their focus as far as outcomes from school education is simple – the best possible scores/ results that enables the best college or university admission. In India this leads to bizarre circumstances where the cut-offs for admissions in some colleges can exceed 100% (Ok, yes, work that one out). When parents see this happening to today’s school pass-outs, they tend to figure that they must double up on their efforts to drive and extract maximum score performance from their child with increased pressure on academic performance (never mind whether we’re really giving thought to the ‘how’ of great academic achievement – that’s an article for another day).

However, what if, by the time your child leaves school the college or university as we know it today no longer exists? If that is a serious possibility then might it cause parents to re-evaluate what their child really needs from their school education.

Here’s a fascinating article from Fast Company that explores changes that are already happening in further Education right now and there’s no question if these continue, then college will look very different for the children studying in schools today.

Fast Company – This is the Future of College

As I read this I had a few thoughts. Firstly, I suspect strongly that there’s still a lot of scope for more innovation that we haven’t started to see yet. Secondly, the pressure for these innovations and changes is already coming, especially from industry and employers who have started making very clear how they are not prepared to accept a further education system that turns out too few candidates with the skills and competencies that employers need and require.

Finally, if college is going to change so drastically, what kind of ‘different ladder’ are students going to need from school? How will their schooling need to be different? I’d love to get views of parents, fellow educators and even students. Whatever, the answers, it’s clear to me it won’t be about chasing another 0.1% on board results.


What Will College Look Like?

Here’s an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal looking at what we might expect the college of 2023 to look like. Obviously, it’s written very much from the perspective of US colleges;

Wall Street Journal – Colleges in the Future

Four big questions came to my mind as I read this piece;

a) Does this article really represent radical change, or a shifting of the deckchairs on the deck of the titanic?
b) For the changes outlined in the article, will it really take 10 years to reach this point? I personally believe the pace of change in these areas suggests that the technology now largely exists to push in to these changes far quicker. If it does take 10 years, it won’t be because of the slow technology development, but the resistance to change in the education profession,
c) What does all this mean for assessment? Maybe this is such a ‘hot potato’ that the article writer steered well clear of it?
d) In the developing world a vast number of new colleges and universities are going to need to come up in the next 5-10 years. Does this represent a golden opportunity to leapfrog, unencumbered by legacy systems and ways, or will we see the new colleges mimicking the western colleges and then needing to make changes later?

These are matters of great interest to school educators as well (or they should be!) as we need to be thinking carefully about the fact that we are preparing young children for a different further education experience than exists currently.

%d bloggers like this: