Monday,4 July 2022
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HomeEducationAcademic InnovationNext 50 years could be a "golden age" for 
higher education
An Avalanche Is Coming

Next 50 years could be a “golden age” for 
higher education


The study, An Avalanche Is Coming, suggests the next 50 years could be a “golden age” for 
higher education but could also mean intense pressure on universities, driven by globalization, technology, rising student expectations, and competition for funding.

This wide-ranging essay aims to provoke creative dialogue and challenge complacency in our traditional higher education institutions.

´Just as globalisation and technology have transformed other huge sectors of the economy in the past 20 years, in the next 20 years universities face transformation.´

With a massive diversification in the range of providers, methods and technologies delivering tertiary education worldwide, the assumptions underlying the traditional relationship between universities, students and local and national economies are increasingly under great pressure – a revolution is coming.

The report warns that large universities which try to combine large scale teaching and research will face increasing competition from new types of education provider.

Universities will have to choose between five models for the future, the elite university; the mass university; the niche university; the local university or as a lifelong learning mechanism for mature students.

Students and potential students no longer simply pick a degree, they look at future employability, and how they can keep on learning throughout their lifetime. The report asks whether a student who “picks and mixes” courses from a range of providers should receive funding on the same basis as a full-time student at a traditional university.

Other questions asked by the report include: “How can governments incentivise the connection between universities and cities that can stimulate innovation and economic development?”

It warns that institutions 
which try to be “multipurpose universities” with a combination of a wide range of degrees and a broad research programme are likely to face considerable challenges.

The report argues that the traditional university faces the threat of being “unbundled” as it competes with more specialised institutions, online learning systems, training providers and consultancies.

Some will need to specialise in teaching alone – and move away from the traditional lecture model, it claims.

Of interest