Tag Archives: Higher Education

Will Colleges see Fewer Students in Future?

It has been predicted that in 20 years time, the number of school leavers joining college will actually go down by a significant margin. The rise of the internet – a way cheaper option than conventional classroom has been viewed as one of the major reasons behind this shift. It has further been opined that learning as such will be primarily dominated by e-based concepts, distance learning, work-based learning and of course the increased number of apprenticeships. Here are further details of the same.

Education: How has Information Technology Caught On?

It has been pointed out that future employers will increasingly become less interested in degrees and focus on candidates’ on-the-job-learning capabilities. Though many are still against distance-based learning because that (according to them) leaves no room for personal interactions between teachers and students, online learning or distance learning is not going to lose momentum anytime soon. Employers, in fact, have often argued that full-time students are not really prepared to be “a part of the workforce”. Those who learn while at work – they think- are more suited to meet the demands of the IT industry. They can prepare more efficiently and are more prepared for the corporate world.

Why should you go on to consider the role of Information Technology in reducing Higher Education Costs?

The impact of Information Technology on information and communication businesses has been all-pervading to say the least. It can well be imagined that it will have similar impact on education as well. The scope is clearly huge and this is substantiated by opportunities.

Right now, you can find out about the accredited (4 years) degree in computer science from the University of the People. It stands as the world’s first non-profit online university which is offering this degree for $4,000. So, one can actually gauge the extent to which online learning has gone on to shape education today.

Experts also view the rise of IT in education as a definite means of reducing costs in higher education. Though there very few people that have thought about this but there is actually no room to dismiss the same. It has also been opined that reports not mentioning ways in technology can actually reduce costs of higher education are nothing but flawed. Students can be offered access to free online learning modules. These modules can be created in a cheaper fashion and eventually be shared by several colleges or campuses.

Higher Education in 2040: Predictions!

For an academician, the estimated future of higher education, should be nothing less than intriguing. The growth of the Chinese and Indian universities and the waning dominance of the West are the two most striking speculations documented so far. 2040! Yes we’re talking 2040! Considering the sea-changes that are likely to shape the future of Higher Education, it won’t really be wrong to claim that 2040 is way too near – i.e. too early for so many changes to take place.

What the book says about education in 2040

Bert Van der Zwaan, the rector magnificus of Utrecht University and Chairman of European Research Universities has come up with a string of predictions regarding Higher education in 2040. Titled, “Higher Education in 2040: A Global Approach”, his book takes a look at the exhilarating future of higher education marked by increased Asian prominence and declining Western influence. Let us take a look at details.

It has been estimated that the Chinese and Indian Universities will actually expand by one-hundred folds in future – thanks to the unprecedented rise of knowledge hubs. The growth of knowledge hubs will definitely be associated with improved focus on top-level scholars, research institutions and universities. Advanced research infrastructures with dynamic interface would be the future as well.

Zwaan, in his book, has also told us about the drastic changes in degree structures and curriculum in the coming years. The relationship between teaching and research will witness notable changes as well.

The growth of knowledge hubs – he says- will be directly influenced by the size of regions. According to him, there will be two knowledge hubs in North America – one in the Boston area and one in North America. London, according to him, however, will actually go on to maintain the status of a knowledge hub with marked ease.

More about these predictions

Zwaan’s views have received support from luminaries like Jouke de Vries. Vries is the professor of governance and public policy at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. He opined that Zwaan’s predictions are partially right and very strong in their comparative perspective. It has been opined that the Western world is clearly in decline while universities in Asia are growing.

It has also been pointed out by others that in countries like Netherlands the state is becoming less important than the religion. Needless to say, this is viewed as a potential reason behind the expected decline in standards of education.

Should We be Concerned regarding the Quality of Academic Papers?

As far as higher education in Kenya is concerned you should be bothered about the quality of the academic papers that you are writing. These are normally supposed to be presented before you graduate.  All this has been indicated in its recent findings -revealed in an audit report done by the Commission for University Education (CUE). However, the said audit has also revealed that there are some serious issues regarding compliance as far as research projects and thesis are concerned. In Kenya only around 50 universities among ones that offer postgraduate education have the necessary framework for supervising errant practices and activities. There are five universities that do not have any quality check setup at all.

Where are these five universities?

These five universities are located in Nyanza, greater Nairobi, and Coast. The report also says that even in cases of universities with necessary frameworks there are problems regarding access to important documents. This is especially applicable with regards to supervisors as well as students. The report has also found out that in some instances the universities themselves are contravening the supervisory framework that they have built up. It cited a couple of universities in Mount Kenya where masters’ degree holders are supervising masters’ thesis presentations.

Misallocation of supervisors

In some cases, it was also seen that the supervisors had been misallocated. One was assigned to supervise a thesis that did not fall within his or her field. The report also stated that some universities did not follow the guidelines laid down by the Commission for University Education with respect to the workload to be borne by supervisors. This is why a lot of supervisors had much more work on their plate than they could manage. In some cases, the report also found that graduation lists were not approved by Senates but by other organs that presumably are not supposed to take any such step.

Issues with graduation lists

A Christian university in Nairobi and a public one at Nyanza were found to have two separate graduation lists. In one case, it was seen that the Senate had approved one list and the final list was much different from the same. Students were added later on in the graduation booklet as per the report. The report also cited the examples of a public university in North Rift and a private university at Nairobi where the supervisors and departments respectively did not give their approval to the graduation lists.