Campus education is too expensive and ignores how people learn today predicts one of world’s wealthiest men.
“At the Techonomy conference in San Francisco, Bill Gates closed the event and answered questions from the audience. One woman asked him whether he thought that online education could potentially supersede in-person education.”
There is both truth and irony in Bill Gates prediction that sending people off to college or university will end soon. Gates says as the cost of a university masters degree approaches $250,000, people will find a way to get their education for $10,000 or even $2,000 on the Internet.
The universities themselves will act like dinosaurs and protect their interests in buildings and tenured professors. Some already have sophisticated distance programs like University of Arizona
Of course, Gates was born with all the luck. He was highly intelligent, wealthy and from an achieving family. Gates never completed his first year at Harvard but went on to lead the microcomputer revolution.
Gates did hire mainly top-of-their-class university graduates once Microsoft got organized. That was smart but is it still? Most of what a university engineering graduate learns is obsolete in 5 years. Learning is a life-long pursuit and with the Internet you don’t need to go to college to get an education.
Some argue that we need to mold the minds of young people to teach them how to learn. That’s old-school thinking. Most children with access to computers have learned how to teach themselves whatever they need to know by age ten. They have an encyclopedic knowledge of whatever interests them -music, games, technology, ecology. They need to be directed perhaps but even that gets harder as they learn on their own.
Gates calls K-12 essentially baby-sitting the children while the parents do something else.
Universities do offer socialization, status and prestige. As long as those things have value and can’t be replaced with other sources people will go to university. For people who lack the skill to be self-directed, in place university might be their only source of education.
Economics will drive the process of pushing internet education into the forefront. The recession in the US is already reported to be moving students from expensive universities to smaller and less expensive colleges based on cost.
“Growing numbers of school leavers are applying directly to companies once thought of as graduate employers as fears of student debt and the job market deter some teenagers from university. The assumption that a degree is needed for the best jobs appears to be fading, with some blue-chip firms reporting keen interest in schemes aimed at school leavers.” The Guardian.co.uk