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The changes of HE worldwide and in the UK and the USA in particular depend upon the changes in economics

Universities in the USA and GB: challenging ideas of innovation

The availability of higher education has increased greatly in the second half of the 20th century. Nevertheless, finding a university place in Britain or the USA is not easy. Universities only take the better students.

Nowadays many young people try to have a higher education because they know that after graduating from the university they will have a good chance to find a well-paid job. But more students mean more expense for the state. The Government’s response has been to abolish the student grant which covered most of the student’s expenses. On top of that, most students have to pay fees. As a result, many students cannot afford to live away from home. More than a third of students now have part-time jobs, which means that they cannot spend so much time on their studies. All these developments threaten to reduce the traditionally high quality of British university education. They also threaten to reduce its availability to students from low-income families.

All the British universities are divided into several types. They are: Oxbridge. This name denotes the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. It has the lowest students. Lectures and laboratory work are organized at university level. The old Scottish Universities. They are Glasgow, Edinburg and St. Andrew’s. All of them the pattern of study is closer to the continental tradition than to the English one – there is less specialization than at Oxbridge. The early 19th century English Universities. They are Durham University, which academic matters are organized at university level, and London. “Debrick” Universities( Birmingham, Manchester) cater only for local people. The campus univ-es tend to emphasize relatively new academic disciples such as social sciences. The newer civic univ-es were originally technical colleges set up by local authorities. Their most notable feature is flexibility with regard to studying arrangements.

The sheer diversity of American higher education baffles many Americans. There are nearly 3100 accredited colleges and univ-es in the USA. Ivy Univ-es(they are 7) are considered to give the best preparation in the sphere of low and business.

All the American univ-es are divided into private and state. Today private colleges educate barely one-fifth of American students.

State univ-es recognize the importance of maintaining a private sector. They use them as spurs of their legislative supporters and beneficent graduates.

Universities are historically slow to react - yet, the stakes now are very high as we see the convergence of:

  • Technology that enables access to learning worldwide
  • Economics that promise to end government support of education worldwide
  • Open Educational Resources enable free sharing of information
  • Student-centered pedagogies that drive best practices

The changes of HE worldwide and in the UK and the USA in particular depend upon the changes in economics

  • The once-large middle class is shrinking; lower income group is growing; less available income for education.
  • Students are slow to complete degrees, in part because nearly all are working part or full time.
  • States and the federal government are cutting subsidies to colleges and universities.
  • The open educational resources movement is gaining traction.

While higher education has traditionally been accessible only to the elite, higher mass education (“massification”) is a global, revolutionary trend of the 21st century. There is pressure to extend the numbers participating in higher education, to maximise the use of new technologies, to link higher education more closely to employment and to meet the needs of students to combine study with earning money. The development of work placements, work-based learning, school-based teacher education and clinical attach­ments have extended the HE learning environment from the university into the working environment. Community colleges become the entry point for most students who will live at home at work while studying.

Thus students’ experience of `university life’ and the kind of learning which takes place outside the official curriculum is very different from the kind of experience available in a traditional university setting.

HE offers and will offer new curricular opportunities: in the interplay between academic study and wider working and life experience; in mobility between different academic and learning communities; in encounters with teachers from a variety of working and professional as well as academic backgrounds. But it will offer less of the intense admixture of close relationships, partying, sport, politics and artistic activity in an intimate com­munity which was available to a traditional university undergraduate community.

Knowledge as we have known it in the academy is coming to an end. The rationale of the university curriculum is derived from the needs of the national economy as defined by employers rather than from some ideal of a liberal education enjoyed for its own sake. There is a shift of focus from the formal knowledge production, which is dominated by closed academic communities, to locally centred, transdisciplinary, ex­perience-based knowledge. This is a shift which represents a serious challenge to the traditional modus operandi of the university and its monopoly as a primary producer of knowledge.

The develop­ments in information technology will have great impact on every aspect of education in the 21st century. Widespread access to Email has rendered the face-to-face contact between student and supervisor in the university and even visits to the library a rare rather than a routine part of the experience. Online degree completion programs become the norm - competing for the students who will continue to work and live at home. Increasingly, the Internet is a working space within which knowledge can be co-constructed, negotiated and revised over time; where different students from diverse locations and backgrounds, even interna­tionally, can engage one another in learning activities.

Students will become life-long learners, expanding their knowledge while balancing jobs, families, personal interests.

A new professoriate that is entrepreneurial, responsive to students, and savvy with the application of technology to efficiently and effectively reach mobile students will emerge. Universities that do not respond to these market changes will go the way of corporations that lose their market share.

Those universities that survive will be nimble, responsive to both the marketplace of employers and the needs of students, building upon the expanding open educational resources to create collaborative, interactive, technology-enhanced, superior learning experiences for students throughout their careers and lives.



Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1069

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