Is education really beyond affordability?
We all talk about the soaring fee structure of higher education, but, is there anything that the society is doing to overcome this hurdle? When the President of Stanford University, John Hennessy an Salman Khan founder of the non-profit online learning organization Khan Academy, were posed with this question by WSJ, they agreed on a common solution of leveraging technology.
Mr. John Hennessy said that a major reason for the rising cost of education is that it depends to a great extent on the tuition fees which is largely unsustainable. He added that a path has to be found out and leveraging technology in the system can be one of it. Even Mr. Khan agreed to the question of sustainability and said that the reason why elite universities are charging and the students paying fees as high as $60000 per year is that when one party thinks that they are charging for a rich educational experience, the other party thinks that they are paying for a credential. But, the appalling reality is that only 5%- 10% of the universities are providing it. And what is worse is that these credentials are provided not on the basis of what you know but on the basis of from where you acquired that knowledge. The whole online debate revolves around this problem of non availability of the so- thought credible degrees in online education although they might be more industry relevant.
The Khan academy provides free online study material in the form of videos and interactive sessions. Mr. Hennessy pointed out that this generation isn’t meant for long lectures. Hence, Stanford has taken the flip classroom idea and the response has been amazingly encouraging. He predicts that the industry is about to see a tsunami and the best way to deal with it isn’t to stand there but to surf through it.
Thus, while most of us are busy sharing our opinions about the state of education, few people are really trying to cope up and fix the problem by venturing into newer options like online education.