In today’s world, as the population rises, so does the need for more education. Conventionally, there will be a need to develop more and more universities to cope up with the needs of the growing world population. So I come forth with a new idea.
I. MAKE ONLINE LEARNING MANDATORY.
Yes, as you guessed it, I’m referring to the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) conducted by edX, Coursera, Open2Study, etc. But… in a different manner. Because, if all students start learning online from professors based in developed countries such as Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, the US, Canada, Australia, etc, what about talented professors in developing countries like India and those in Latin and South America?
Yes, make the most talented professors among them take classroom courses and shoot videos of their lectures to release online through their websites.
Let the students discuss with the professors their doubts online. Let the professors hire TAs (Teaching Assistants) for this task, to handle student doubts online. Keep no limit on student enrollment. Let tens of thousands of students enroll. For every student enrolled, let the professors and TAs be paid a few thousand bucks to top their salaries (which will go to tens of millions every year). Also, let there be no limit on the time taken by each student to complete his/her courses. Let each student enroll in any number of programs as he/she wishes. If he/she finishes, say, an undergrad program before 4 years are over, let him/her receive the degree. They must pay ranging from a few tens of thousands up to a hundred thousand for each program enrolled, for every year, depending on the market value and the demand of the courses, both domestically and internationally. Let the financially weak apply for government support, and once they start earning well, let them pay back all debts with/without interest. And for that, reduce the bureaucratic red tapes. Okay, back to the topic, I’m not writing an economic/political administration post here.
Such an idea will reduce the trouble of traveling for students and teachers. This is the future. But then what will happen to the universities that conduct such classroom courses? Let them be used for practical purposes. Let the average student spend 2 days a week learning how the world practically works. There are plenty of privateers who can surely lend a hand for this, so intimate them. But as I would usually say, let students attend more than 2 days a week if they wish, and let them finish even their practical courses at their own pace, whether fast or slow. Charge a few thousands for that as well.
For the exams, make students write exams for each subject that resemble proctored certification exams like CCNA, CEH, etc. Let them answer elaborately and in a few lines (depending on the question), let it even be an open book test, but students must be made to think on their own, and how they will implement it practically. Charge a few thousands on exams for each subject. Keep separate practical or lab exams if need be, and also charge a few thousands accordingly for each practical/lab subject. Let a tentative timetable be setup as an ideal framework for the average student who hesitates to take an exam before its stipulated date or is too touchy as to take it after, but let students take this proctored subject exam at any time, whether it’s before or after the end of a year or a semester. And let them earn a certificate for successfully completing each subject. Charge a few thousands for each certificate. The world works on incentives after all.
II. DON’T OVERLOAD THE PROFESSORS AND TEACHING ASSISTANTS OF A PARTICULAR CITY ALONE.
Now the next question that will arise in mind is, how will we manage millions of students? Wouldn’t that create an overload? The answer is simple. Let the professors enroll N number of students from only their resident cities/districts, and other cities/districts of their preference. Let professors choose which cities/districts they will manage. Let there be a limited opening for students of other provinces/states and foreign countries. Let students who are citizens of the country but resident abroad also enroll if they wish to do so. This will increase the competitive edge of professors and their TAs.
III. CREATE AN FAQ SECTION FOR EACH SUBJECT.
Now this one is crucial. A Frequently Asked Questions section is mandatory in relieving the pressure from TAs and professors. It must contain a general rules/guidelines section and must also include a subject based section with questions from students who have previously enrolled and finished the subject course. So that TAs can redirect students to the FAQ subject section to get answers. And make way for new kinds of questions arising from students. If TAs can’t answer, let them forward the concerned questions to the professor for reference.
IV. CONDUCT A NATIONWIDE OR STATEWIDE EXAMINATION FOR PROFESSORS.
For students to become industry ready, professors must also be the same. So let professors attend (proctored certification kind of) competitive examinations on fields of their interest and pave the way for their future students.
V. WHAT IF SOME UNIVERSITIES GO DEFUNCT?
After compensating the concerned individuals, let the lands be used to grow back forests, use them for agriculture, use them to setup a weapons/missiles depot, an office to employ industry ready people, a vehicle manufacturing factory, a showroom or whatever that benefits the nation as a whole! Is there a shortage of ideas on even these?!
VI. BUT IF ALL STUDENTS BECOME INDUSTRY READY, HOW WILL THEY ALL GET EMPLOYED?
Let graduates initiate startups for this purpose. Startups should develop into big corps and employ more eligible industry ready graduates in the future. That is an economics problem for which I refer my readers to http://www.sabhlokcity.com for elaborate detailed ideas. My basic suggestion would be to loosen the bureaucratic red tapes for startups and companies.
Alas, this is the future of higher education my friends. This is how I propose to manage the growing number of students and the problem of unemployment due to students not being industry ready. Because, once people start getting educated and busy, population will automatically plummet.
Thanks a lot to all my readers for your valuable time! Whoa, it just took me a little more than half an hour to come up with the ideas above! A simple thought triggers a process, and it develops into an idea! Hopefully this idea turns into reality!
Till the next time, it’s goodbye… from Iniyavel Sugumar!
March 5, 2016. 1:28 PM.