As with so many areas of our lives, education has been turned completely upside down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments, school administration teams, teachers, parents, and students are all dealing with unprecedented change and uncertainty – even as many states are already in the process of attempting to reopen universities, colleges, and K-12 schools. In this issue of Top Reads, we’ve included a number of perspectives on the changing face of education in the midst of massive disruption.
Education, Meet Disruption
Author and entrepreneur Scott Galloway, also a professor of marketing at the New York University Stern School of Business believes that a handful of elite institutions will become ‘cyborgs’ by necessity. He says that these tech-enabled education giants will then move from dominating to completely monopolizing higher education.
“Ultimately, universities are going to partner with companies to help them expand. I think that partnership will look something like MIT and Google partnering. Microsoft and Berkeley. Big-tech companies are about to enter education and health care in a big way, not because they want to but because they have to.”
Not everyone agrees with Galloway’s thesis, though. Joshua Kim from Inside Higher Ed offers a counterpoint: Why Scott Galloway Is Wrong About Higher Ed’s Big Tech Future.
Yuval Levin, a conservative policy expert and the founding editor of National Affairs, put it this way:
“The top 20 schools are probably not going to change. But what is actually higher education — more than 4,000 universities — I think will change a lot.”
Check out his predictions for education and other industries in this New York Times piece.
Ben Carlson of A Wealth of Common sense sums it up nicely:
“This fall is going to be weird.”
So what are college age students to do? Carlson presents four practical options to make the most of this decidedly weird time:
- Take a gap year, if you’re privileged enough to have this option.
- Choose community college rather than an out of state school, to save money and limit the stress of living away from home.
- “Embrace the weirdness” by taking your school’s online classes if you’re pretty sure you can stay disciplined.
- Accept that campus life won’t have its usual appeal and load up on coursework while the social aspects of higher education take a back seat.
Unemployment rates across America and around the world have skyrocketed in recent months. While employment varies from state to state, contingent on COVID case numbers and relative stages of reopening, many workers are re-examining their employability in both the short and long term.
A third of people who have lost their jobs in the pandemic, or worry that they will, say they will need more education to get new ones.
One solution that’s gaining traction is the concept of ‘microcredentials’. These mini certifications can be done quickly and cost-effectively compared to a typical degree or diploma program, giving job applicants the specific skills that employers are looking for. Learn more about the growing interest in microcredentials here.
This infographic from Deloitte summarizes some of the changes we can expect to see in higher education in the new post-COVID ‘normal. Immediate changes like the introduction of remote delivery and rapid restructuring are already in progress, while Deloitte predicts we’ll soon see a greater emphasis on student wellbeing, uncertain enrolment, and increased cyber risks as schools rapidly deploy and scale up their remote access platforms. Future issues will include challenges with compliance for campuses receiving Title IV funding, as well as financial and solvency concerns generally.
Check out the infographic here or by clicking the thumbnail above.
Business programs everywhere have taken a hit in today’s precarious environment. In this article, John Byrne of Poets&Quants argues that the pandemic is merely a catalyst for those programs that aren’t the most profitable or highly rated in international MBA rankings. Purdue’s MBA program, which previously accounted for just 2% of its enrolled students, is another recent casualty.
Juan Freire suggests successful business programs of the future will be “mission-oriented”:
At least in part, we have to reorient our portfolio of programs because people need to be able to confront relevant problems (that are wicked and complex). However our present offer is mostly discipline-focused (poorly-prepared to solve real problems) and we need to re-balance this mix.
Children and Teens
NYC angel investor Joanne Wilson, well known as a financial backer of women-founded companies, suggests a complete rethinking of the education system may be needed.
Education costs are soaring. How about taking a whiteboard and rethinking the entire system, from bottom-up? The ability to take high school classes online with any teacher from any school would be game-changing. The best teachers would shine and the ones that aren’t so good would fail. How could a teacher teach 300 kids in a classroom? With a new model and support. Rethink the physical spaces. This might get rid of a massive amount of flab. The system needs to be toned and move into a brand new model.
The drive for reinvention is coming from within the education sector as well. Technology has already started to bridge the gap between pupil and teacher, but as this piece from the WEF blog points out, the role of educators must also change.
For a while now, educators around the world have been talking about the need to rethink how we educate future generations. This might just be the disruption that the sector needed to get us all to rethink how we educate, and question what we need to teach and what we are preparing our students for.
Could the pandemic and its side effects be causing long-term problems for an entire generation of the world’s children? This article by David Robson for BBC explains how the interruption to regular classroom education is widening existing inequalities. There are no easy answers, he says, though he does have some recommendations. Read more here.