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Amani Institute’s survey19 highlighted that the traits employers value (leadership, problem solving, communication and project management) in incoming recruits are not provided adequately by universities. Conversely, what universities offer (advanced academic grounding and hard skills) is not valued highly by the employers and featured 8th and 9th on a list of 11 most relevant attributes they need. The report also emphasizes that future leaders of social change need to develop themselves through skill development workshops and field experiences where they gain empathy, perceptivity and humility to truly get out of their comfort zone; like the way a doctor, athlete or soldier would train. And this matters more than what type of degree was received and from where.
18 Kavanagh, S. The student revolution has begun. (ONLINE) (2012) 19Paul, R., & Tesluic, I. (2013, January 1). (ONLINE) The State Of Talent Development in the Social Sector. Retrieved November 4, 2014 To decipher and interpret this mismatch, the Education to Employment20 (McKinsey) report globally analysed three key areas: enrolling in postsecondary education, building skills, and finding a job. One key problem identified was lack of communication and clear expectations between employers, educators, and the youth. For instance, 72% of the education institutions believed that new graduates were ready for work, but only 45 percent of youth, and 42 percent of employers agreed. One in three employers said that they never communicate with education providers, and of those that do, less than half found it to be effective21. Finally, only half of new graduates agreed that their post-secondary education helped them get a better job and 25 percent end up taking some sort of interim employment that's not related to what they studied.
The underlying moral here is greater collaboration and better quality of communication between employers expressing what skills they need in candidates and education institutions ensuring that the students gain those skills.
Undeniably, out of the successful education-to-employment programs McKinsey Mourshed, M., Farrell, D., & Barton, D. (n.d.). Education to Employment Report | (ONLINE) McKinsey on Society. Retrieved April 11, 2012, from http://mckinseyonsociety.com/education-toemployment/report/ o Social scientists at McKinsey analyzed over 100 innovative education-to-employment projects globally and surveyed a diverse group of employers, education institutions, and the youth in Brazil, Germany, India, Mexico, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States 21Dwyer, L. (2012, December 11). (ONLINE) How Do We Design an Education to Employment System That Works? Retrieved November 4, 2014 Abel, J., & Deitz, R. (2012, December 3). (ONLINE) Agglomeration and Job Matching among College Graduates. Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://www.newyorkfed.org/research/staff_reports/sr587.pdf reviewed, the key pattern was that education providers and employers actively stepped into each other’s worlds. The grim realities prove that this crisis is indeed global, affecting the well-being of the society and robbing the enormous capacity of the youth to innovate, bring change and be an asset so as to contribute intellectually, financially and culturally to their respective economies. This will certainly happen through responsible co-creation between all the stakeholders involved (employers, educators, policy makers and the youth).
Coursolve seems to have cracked a piece of the puzzle. It empowers students to solve real-world problems by connecting courses and organizations. One hundred organizations of all types and sizes actively connected with learners and nearly 60% of the mature organizations indicated over surveys that they would collaborate with students to address future business problems. Most importantly, 72% of these organizations were seeking assistance on medium to very high priority challenges. The results were comparable across organizations of all ages, suggesting most would benefit from working with students.22 But unquestionably, every revolution must be steered responsibly or it could have serious repercussions. One such is the evolution of the university into a sophisticated trade school producing a homogeneous workforce. This means, a dearth of poets, linguists and the fringe professions that have in many ways been Nurmohamed, Z., Gillani, N., & Lenox, M. (2013, July 4) (ONLINE). A New Use for MOOCs: RealWorld Problem Solving. Retrieved November 3, 2014.
Dwyer, L. (2012, December 11). (ONLINE) How Do We Design an Education to Employment System That Works? Retrieved November 4, 2014 the soul of the society and civilizations for centuries. The potential of these creative communities is realized in the spaces they inhabit and the death of these professions may certainly mean the death of our modern societies.
The Ingredients (Key Takeaways)
- Massive youth unemployment globally, particularly affecting economies in the emerging world. Still, employers cannot find the right talent or enough applicants with the skills, knowledge and the mindset they
- For the industry, the focus is on the mindset of the people rather than the skillset and soft-skills seem to be more desirable than GPAs. Yet, skills required are not taught at universities.
- The education system optimized itself for the industrial age but markets, priorities and approaches have changed. So, the unemployment
- The curriculum is out of touch with today’s challenges, not helping solve our global scale problems but teaching the framework that rather
- The divide between industry and academia is growing, not shrinking;
forcing industry to have tailor-made courses for their potential
- The mismatch extends to the social sector where what the industry needs is leadership, problem-solving, communication, project management and field experience to gain empathy, perceptivity
The human race is surrounded by massive amounts of data every day and possess more knowledge than ever before in history. A lot has changed information-wise, but the education system has remained static with many elements ripe for reinvention.
A university doesn't mean campus, or class, or a particular body of knowledge; it means the guild, the group of people united in scholarship. The University we recognize originated in the 11th century and illuminated manuscripts from that period show a professor at a podium lecturing from a revered volume while rows of students sit with paper and quill -- the same basic format that most classes take 1,000 years later. 23 Institutions will need to reimagine themselves and their value propositions and rising costs may be one of the reasons. As higher education is becoming more expensive without reciprocating the marginal value in quality, it is causing students to drop out or not progress enough in their careers to justify the amount.
23Kamenetz, A. (n.d.). How Web-Savvy Edupunks Are Transforming American Higher Education. (ONLINE) Fast Company. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.fastcompany.com/1325728/how-web-savvy-edupunks-are-transforming-americanhigher-education For some in the developed world, it is about $240 for a 50 minute class, which begs the question, is it worth that much?
But the cost crisis contrasts the potential transformation offered by technology and online learning portals like MOOCs that are giving parallel learning opportunities for free. And it’s about time that these fresh perspectives and mediums are manifested into new communities of scholars and models of education. All this will ensure that institutions would certainly encounter and undergo change, but would most of them ride the wave or crumble under it?
MOOCs: Revolution & Evolution “Five years from now on the web for free, you’ll be able to find the best lectures in the world... It will be better than any single university”. 24
The college degree is certainly not about to disappear but will augment itself.
Some may say that its future is online, but Massively Open Online Courses or MOOCs have not completely lived up to their expectations up to this point. This is due to the lack of a robust accreditation system, low completion rates, and the lack of support infrastructure in the emerging world. But investors and institutions are 24Humphries, M. (n.d.). Bill Gates: (ONLINE) Forget university, the web is the future for education (ONLINE) | News | Geek.com. Retrieved November 22, 2014, from http://www.geek.com/news/billgates-forget-university-the-web-is-the-future-for-education-1275771/ *More on this in the Unbundling section.
looking to bring in the next level of iteration and these problems could be a thing of the past. One such idea is forming a "community of practice" while teaching similar material to significantly improve student experience by using analytics.* Reviewing the Revolution With 9.2 million registered users, Coursera, recently captured $4 million in revenues since it introduced an option to have their certificates verified by recording students’ unique typing patterns. On the other hand, Udacity, partnered with AT&T and Georgia Tech to offer an online master’s degree in computing, for $7000 as opposed to $25,000 while some colleges have already started to accept MOOC credits towards their degrees. Mona Mourshead from McKinsey’s education division sees this as a turning point; “If employers accept this on equal terms, the MOOC master’s degree will have taken off. Others will surely follow.” 25 Like all revolutions, this too will have its fair share of victims. Mediocre universities may no longer justify themselves because of their low return on investment and their sensitivity to rising costs, therefore must lead the charge towards reinventing themselves to survive. This is particularly vital for many university towns that rely on universities for their economy. Clayton Christensen considers MOOCs a potent “disruptive technology” that will kill off many inefficient universities.25 Moody’s25 for instance predicts mass bankruptcies within two decades, causing universities’ revenues to fall by more than half, employment in 25The digital degree. (2014, June 28). (ONLINE) The Economist. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21605899-staid-higher-education-business-aboutexperience-welcome-earthquake-digital the industry dropping by nearly 30% and more than 700 institutions shutting their doors26. The least likely to be affected are elite institutions where the network, facilities and the resources are as valuable as the degree itself.
But the MOOC revolution will certainly do more good than harm; primarily, democratizing the degree and world-class content globally. EdX claims that almost one in two students come from the developing world; Coursera has registered users from 190 countries and are planning a massive expansion focusing on Asia44. edX’s first course was an MIT hard circuits and electronics course where 155,000 students enrolled from 162 countries without any marketing budget. “155,000 is a big number! That number was bigger than the total number of alumni of MIT in its 150-year history. 7,200 students passed the difficult course.
7,200 is also a big number. If I were to teach at MIT two semesters every year, I would have to teach for 40 years before I could teach this many students”, affirms Founder Mr. Agarwal27.
Another great example is The University of the People, in partnership with the United Nations which offers online bachelor's degrees in business and computer science using open courseware and volunteer faculty; even though the course is free, exam fees would add up to about $4,000 for a full four-year degree. The New 26Creative destruction. (2014, June 28). (ONLINE) The Economist. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21605906-cost-crisis-changing-labour-markets-and-newtechnology-will-turn-old-institution-its 27Agarwal, A. (2014, January 1). (ONLINE) Transcript of "Why massive open online courses (still) matter" Retrieved November 10, 2014, from http://www.ted.com/talks/anant_agarwal_why_massively_open_online_courses_still_matter/transcrip t#t-143654 Charter University on the other hand has a unique business model where students can take unlimited classes for $199 a month. These models are also opening doors for life-long learning as the median age for MOOC students in the United States is 31 with over 70% having a degree28 However MOOCs have their fair share of critics including institutions like Oxford and Cambridge; their central arguments being the high dropout rate (90% for firsttime subscribers29). This could be attributed to the negligible cost of enrollment, therefore the lack of ‘pinch’ or personal accountability to finish the course. EdX discovered that most dropouts happen quite quickly, and to counter this, producers are refining their courses to make the early stages easier to follow or to show that progression has already been made with little effort. This techniques involve game mechanics where users are reminded of what is already conquered, and therefore the task starts to shrink. This is an effective way to tackle the problem as Behavioral Economists like Dan Ariely believe that the key to motivating action is to make people feel as though they’re already closer to the finish line than they would’ve thought. And even though academicians have provoked opposition arguing that MOOCs will accelerate cuts to university staffing, the model does make sense financially. First, MOOCs could be set up quite frugally and provides unmatched economies of scale, potentially giving access to 28The digital degree. (2014, June 28). (ONLINE) The Economist. Retrieved October 6, 2014, from http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21605899-staid-higher-education-business-aboutexperience-welcome-earthquake-digital 29 Rivard, R. (2013). (ONLINE) Measuring the MOOC dropout rate. Inside Higher Ed, 8.
billions of people with just those initial costs, so it could be delivered cheaply or for free.