This week’s readings about the future of the International Higher Education summarized the great deal of topics, changes, successes and challenges we have discussed in class over the semester. I also found it thought provoking, as it brought up concerns the new generation will have to face and resolve. Both readings had a number of common themes when it comes to the future of international higher education, and some of those that stood out include the growth of enrollment numbers in the last decades and how this will affect the future, especially in countries like China, quality of massive higher education, the inequalities of access, and the role of rankings/global citizens and global institutions.

Both readings referred a lot to the fact that overall enrollment numbers, especially in Asian countries like China and India as well as in African countries have increased exponentially over the last few decades. Although it seems like a good thing, it also created a challenge of quality of education for the students, as the classes grew in size, taking away from that needed relationships between students and professors. In addition, the nations are having trouble placing all of those graduates to jobs, causing more distress in the country. This seems to be an issue for many developing countries that have seen a growth spurt in higher education, which should be addressed immediately by the countries’ leaders, as it can lead to bigger problems for the national and even international economies.

Similar to the Asian and African countries, where the quality has been diminished due to the sudden increase in enrollment, already developed countries are also concerned about quality, but due to the popularity of mass and online education. More and more student chose this option as it might be more practical and convenient; however the quality is not the same as in person higher education experience. Although with advancement of the technology, it will be difficult to stop the trend, the institutions and professors should be more creative in attracting student with things that cannot be replaced online – the network, the mentorship, and opportunities.

Despite the increase in the overall enrollment, majority of the countries still see the inequality of access to higher education, in many countries that gap keeps growing even further than it used to be. This seems as a major concern that needs to be addressed not just on institutional level, but most importantly on a government/national level. Given the increase of importance of international rankings (not just national or local anymore), institutions, especially those with research or large endowments, concentrate on becoming global institutions, which brings more prestige, wealthy students and more partnerships around the world. Although the strategy might seem harmless as it does help students to become global citizens and enhance their experiences, it is highly concentrated on the wealthier students, leaving those in middle class and lower income families outside of reach increasing the gap even further. In addition, the cost of even public institutions has gone up tremendously, limiting access to higher education for many families. The Atlantic Magazine recently summarized the inequalities in the article mainly in the Unites States, however as already mentioned, these inequalities exist all over the world.

 

Natallia Kolbun

Posted in W1

3 thoughts on “W13 – The Future of International Higher Education

  1. In regards to quality, I don’t think it is online learning that is to blame for the decrease in quality, but the way it is implemented and who is teaching the course and whether or not they are fully equipped to teach the course. I recently read an ITHAKA study that looked at online learning and how it compared to face-to-face learning. The study found that while students didn’t learn more from online learning, they didn’t learn less either. This meant that students in online classes had the same or similar measures on learning outcomes as those who were in face-to-face classes. There are many potential benefits to online learning, like customization to the individual and the flexibility it entails. And like face-to-face classes, I think the institution needs to make sure that the one teaching the course is fully equipped to effectively teach it, whether it is online or in person.

  2. Thank you for your post! Unlike Victoria’s post above, I do believe online learning is to blame for the decrease in quality. Courses are dishing them out more rapidly because the students are requesting them and it is cost effective for the institution. However, the structure of the online course is not conducive for a robust quality education. For example, this internalization course is presented in hybrid format and allows us to meet every other week in person. During the weeks we do not meet, we still have engagement with at least three of our classmates through this blog discussion. I have heard there are hybrid courses that do not expect students to interact with one another during the off weeks. And if they do, it’s not as interactive as these blog posts. If we are moving in the direction that offers more hybrid and even fully online courses, then there has to be stricter policies for quality control.

    Adia

  3. The enrollment increase in these countries is very concerning because as you pointed out even if they did find seats for all these students the quality of education would not be the same. I do agree with you and Aida that online courses are easy for the institutions to put in place but are not effective to teach the material that needs to be taught. I wonder if the government in China or Africa have thought about adding more universities to ensure the quality of the education for the increasing enrollment. This would create more jobs as well so its a positive on both ends. Now that higher education is becoming internationalized I think less students should be worried about jobs because there are many opportunities around the world with internships and partner institutions allowing for shared information when it comes to jobs.

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