What will higher education look like in 2020? A new report from the Britain-based Observatory on Borderless Higher Education draws on interviews with 21 international education professionals in an attempt to answer just that. Here are a few of its main findings:
On MOOCs (massive open online courses), their impact “on pedagogy and university business models will be profound but an evolutionary shift rather than an avalanche of change.”
On mobility, the demand for higher education worldwide will continue to grow, but at a lower rate than in the past 20 years. Growth in international student mobility will not keep pace with the overall growth in demand due to increased capacity in domestic higher education systems and the growth of transnational education opportunities. Specifically, “India’s share of internationally mobile students will rise and China’s will fall. Domestic capacities and demography both pull in that direction.”
Furthermore, the rate of growth for transnational education will exceed the growth in international student mobility. International branch campus activity will be increasingly intra-regional and “South-South” in nature.
China and Malaysia will rise as exporters of higher education.
Students will prefer blended learning to fully online learning: “The future is blended.”
Regarding the unbundling of degrees, in which students earn credits from a variety of institutions (and types of institutions), “The future is also unbundled.”
On public provision of resources, “[t]he gradual withdrawal of the state from the funding of [higher education] teaching in the developed world will not be reversed as the global economy enters a recovery cycle up to 2020. User pays is becoming the norm, though withdrawal of public funding in wealthy countries in continental Europe is unlikely.”
At the same time, governments will put pressure on universities to drive down the costs of degrees. "The online revolution and the ability to unbundle provision from awards, while maintaining access to public loans and grants, will make this feasible. Top research universities will be unaffected. The cultural divide between the elite and the rest will widen in the U.S and U.K."
Public universities will increasingly see private and for-profit institutions as potential partners.
The Institute of International Education on Tuesday announced an expansion of its consortium aimed at raising funds to provide emergency scholarships and fellowships to Syrian students and scholars. The partnering organizations have committed $3 million and are hoping to raise another $4 million in university commitments and funds to, among other things, pay for 600 scholarships for Syrian students: 200 scholarships for Syrian students in Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq, 100 in other countries in the Middle East and North Africa region, 100 in North America, 100 in Europe, and 100 in Latin America.
IIE estimates that in 2012-13, the first year of the effort, the consortium raised $3.8 million in assistance for approximately 100 Syrian scholars and students.
Kofi Awoonor, a Ghanian poet who taught creative writing and African literature at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, was among those killed in the terrorist attack on a mall in Kenya. Awoornor was also a Stony Brook alumnus.
A $120 million gift from a Canadian business executive could help expand the Rhodes Scholarships, The Globe and Mail reported. The scholarships currently go to those in the British Commonwealth, the U.S. and Germany, and the gift could lead to an expansion to also include other countries.
Suzanne Fortier, principal and vice chancellor (the equivalent of president) of McGill University, has issued a statement in which the university formally opposes a "charter of values" proposed by Quebec's government that would bar public employees -- including those who work at universities -- from wearing religious head coverings or "overt" religious symbols. While the proposal could affect many religious people, it is widely viewed as a response to the non-Christian immigrant population in the province. "The proposal to prohibit our professors and staff from wearing visible religious symbols runs contrary to our principles. The wearing of such symbols in no way interferes with the religious and political neutrality of McGill as an institution. All the members of the university community with whom I have spoken on this issue are clearly worried about the proposal, and would like to see it withdrawn," said Fortier's statement. The Montreal Gazette reported that other universities are also concerned about the proposal, but that McGill is the first to take so public a stance.