China’s education development plan for 2010-20 assures funding and improvements to higher education quality, research, and internationalization, strengthening its competitive edge in the global higher education market that has been dominated traditionally by Western countries.
The broad concept of sustainability — doing what works best in the long run, not just what gives the biggest economic return today — must be a central component of any education relevant in the 21st century. .However, to deliver that, we need to be clear about .what we mean to achieve.
Creativity and innovation are in increasing demand as an engine for economic development and solving significant difficulties, such as (preventing and) winning wars, curing condition, feeding a growing population, and discovering sources of clean water. . With new technologies, growing expenses, uneven access and outdated company versions, larger education is in require of a big dose of creative pondering.
Lately, Blade Nzimande, South Africa’s Minister for Increased Education and Education, announced that the country’s 1st universities to be founded given that the ending of apartheid will open in 2014. Work on a university in Kimberley in the Northern Cape is set to begin in September, so that it can open in time for the starting of the academic year in January. The 2nd university will be primarily based in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga, a considerable agricultural district about 340km northeast of Johannesburg.
Rising star of the Twitterverse Tressie McMillan Cottom has a must-read post about her observations as a sociologist and former admissions staffer at a for-profit college. It’s about the interaction between the prestige hierarchy of higher education, economic class, and self-image.
The money quote:
When I teach my undergraduates at my elite, private school they all recognize the for-profit college ads I play to introduce the idea of higher education stratification. I ask them why they did not apply to Everest or Strayer when they were applying to college. They tell me that it’s not a school for people like them.
“Not a school for people like them.”
When I worked at DeVry, we had conversations like these all the time. DeVry used to blanket every cheesy daytime talk show with ads — Ricki Lake was a favorite — and its student body reflected that. Whenever a big muckety-muck from Home Office came to campus to exhort us to higher success rates, we usually responded by asking that the advertising be redirected to places where likelier-to-succeed students might see them. The usual answer was that the ads worked, and as long as they worked, there wasn’t much point in redirecting them.
This strikes me as the flip side of the “;undermatching” thesis addressed yesterday. At some level, there’s a broad — and I would say, badly dysfunctional — understanding that certain kinds of colleges are for certain kinds of people. That’s not restricted to the relatively unobjectionable cases of women’s colleges or colleges with specific religious affiliations, where the identities are worn on the sleeve. The larger issue is the unwritten identity that each college assumes.
Economic and cultural capital are major components of those unwritten identities. Those overlap with race, but they have force of their own. The students who know the difference between engineers and engineering techs go to Purdue or MIT; the ones who don’t, go to DeVry.
The for-profits are acutely aware of that sort of thing, and they organize themselves accordingly. As Cottom puts it:
Can you imagine applying to your flagship state university by walking into the admissions office with $ 75 in cash? It is even difficult to do at the local community college I visited recently. And community colleges are, theoretically, designed to serve demographically similar students as those served by for-profit colleges. Waltzing in with cash money is not only a bureaucratic violation but a cultural one. It signals you do not know how “;real” college works.
Exactly. And if community colleges are serious about helping the folks who don’t come in knowing that, we could learn some lessons from the for-profits.
To my reading, Cottom puts a little too much faith in the economic cycle to explain for-profits’ success, and probably too little on the regulatory climate. And it’s reasonable to think that the for-profits should be even more nervous about MOOCs than the rest of us. But those are quibbles. Go and read her piece. Give it some thought. She’s on to something, and we’d best figure out just what it is.
Entrepreneurial ideas related to education have flourished of late, and business plan competitions can surface some of these initial ideas. Here are eight education-related start-up ideas appearing on several lists of finalists.
Wharton Business Plan Competition
They recently selected 26 semi-finalists out of 140 teams, and the following two teams presented businesses related to education.
Certiorari: Certiorari is a comprehensive educational resource that closes the knowledge gap between lawyers and their clients.
Textbook Friend: Textbook Friend is an online platform, personalized to different schools with different subdomains, student networks, and marketing teams, in which students can communicate directly to buy and sell textbooks on campus, cutting out the traditionally large intermediary fees of bookstores and other services
MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series (MUES) Business Plan Competition
One of the ten finalists has an idea focused on education.
Excelegrade: A company that developed online software that replaces paper-based tests in K-12 classrooms with assessments on tablets, smart phones, and laptops.
Georgia Tech Business Plan Competition
At least one of the finalists is trying to solve an educational problem.
iSolv3: mobile application that allows users to solve complicated math problems by taking a picture (no typing into the calculator necessary!)
NYC Next Idea
Two out of the six finalists presented education-related ideas.
Glovico.org: A peer-to-peer online language learning platform (USA and Germany)
Cortex International: Medical Ethics Virtual Experience, a module-based, interactive ethics education program for use at medical schools and hospitals (USA and China)
Burton D. Morgan Business Plan Competition at Purdue
The ten finalists in the undergraduate and graduate student categories included two education ideas.
Cornucopia Farm: an agritourism business in Scottsburg, Ind., focused on educating the public about agriculture and how to interact with it in their daily lives.
Skyepack: which is a content-focused educational software environment designed to facilitate the delivery of learn-anywhere mobile content as an alternative to texts, course packs and class handouts.
Which one would get your vote if you were a judge?
Bill Gates has diagnosed what ails increased education, and the cure is all about technologies, and also Yoda.
Speaking at the SXSW engineering conference, as reported by CNN Income, “Gates&rsquo major theme was customized learning, which can be enhanced by new technological innovation.&rdquo
Yet again according to CNN Funds, Gates maintains that, “Yoda was a excellent instructor since the Jedi master understood when Skywalker is dropping interest.&rdquo
In Gates&rsquo personal words, “With this wave of application that's becoming designed that personalizes to the pupil … there's genuine promise here that the youngsters can go back and engage in a way they couldn't ahead of."
So Bill Gates and I, and just about every person else I&rsquom mindful of, agree on two huge items: one. That massive lecture classes are non-perfect atmospheres to engender learning. two. The much better different is personalized studying supervised by a mentor capable of nurturing pupil curiosity.
Gates&rsquo reply to this dilemma is “personalized software.&rdquo
As I read this, I recognized this computer software presently exists, and in some cases (mine) it&rsquos a little as well soft, about the middle specifically.
I&rsquom talking about human beings, or in Yoda&rsquos case, an indeterminate species of three-foot tall green factors with oversized ears and gravelly Miss Piggy voices.
I like Gates&rsquo Yoda analogy. Yoda is without a doubt a fine instructor. When Luke is coaxed by Obi-Wan&rsquos ghost to the swamp planet Dagobah to understand beneath Yoda&rsquos tutelage, rather than lecturing Luke Skywalker on how to harness the Force, Yoda encourages youthful Luke to search within himself.
I have to say, I at times come to feel like Yoda in my job, every student a various youthful Jedi in require of the right words of encouragement.
Most of the time I&rsquom communicating two factors, that what I am asking them to do matters, and that they are certainly capable of undertaking it.
Or, as Yoda puts it, “Do or do not&hellipthere is no attempt.&rdquo
Apparently, Gates&rsquo concept is to place Yoda on pc screens as component of the school of tomorrow, “in which college students observe lessons on the web, delivered by the brightest minds in the field.&rdquo
As Gates says, "If you want the extremely greatest lectures, if you want the value efficiency, you have to break down and say, you know, allow's get someone else's materials."
I feel about this, and I wonder, provided a Jedi-master&rsquos capacity to undertaking his thoughts across galaxies and star techniques in an instant, why did Obi-Wan encourage Luke to look for out Yoda in person?
Possibly since software and humans are the same issue, not.  Yes, hmmm.
The assumptions that Gates and other folks like him deliver to these discussions is that education, as is, is as well costly. Soon after all, tuition is rising more quickly than inflation and university is threatening to turn into a bad investment. Technology, Gates argues, has the likely to make college cheaper, for instance by not needing as numerous professors given that, what the heck, we&rsquove received Yoda on tape!
Like Gates, I&rsquom distressed by growing tuition and the strain it puts on my students. Many more of them are taking on shocking amounts of debt, or trying to operate total-time jobs even though also getting full-time students.
But I get distressed when the discussion turns immediately towards the corporate buzzwords of “efficiency&rdquo and “productivity.&rdquo In the 90&rsquos, when unemployment was four% and we have been all acquiring wealthy on our shares of Pets.com, I don&rsquot keep in mind people falling in excess of themselves criticizing our system of larger education.
Not that we can&rsquot get greater, but the truth is, we&rsquore in fact quite great at it. The educating/learning model is not particularly mysterious. College students benefit from becoming in the presence of their Jedi-masters. Occasionally a hologram is okay, but it isn&rsquot a substitute for the real, little green factor.
Surely, universities share some of the blame for increasing tuition as they&rsquove chased amenities, increased the amount of administration, and yes, pursued the most recent technologies, but the deep economic downturn and state government reductions in funding have completed far more to improve tuition rates than any other factor.
When the Bantha dung hit the fan in the 2008 monetary crisis, the government responded by recapitalizing the banks, bailing out the auto industry, and acquiring toxic assets, probably conserving us from a devastating economic meltdown. As of March 4th, the government has been paid back $ 461 billion of the $ 605 billion it handed out, with a very good opportunity more than time to at least break even or flip a profit.
Why can&rsquot we do one thing related with colleges? Do we doubt that there will be economic (and other benefits) to enhancing education, as opposed to creating it a lot more “efficient?&rdquo
And it doesn&rsquot even have to be the government alone that does it.
Because 2008, funding to greater education in Louisiana has been cut by $ 425 million dollars.
In 2011 alone, the Gates Basis spent $ 426 million offering grants to education-relevant organizations.
Virtually all of that funds went to groups operating on integrating engineering into the classroom. They argue the technology helps teachers better do their jobs by freeing them to engage more personally with the students. That feels like the Dark Side to me, as we preserve throwing cash at technologies attempting to produce a substitute for one thing we previously have in abundance, prepared and devoted teachers.
Why can&rsquot we just have a lot more teachers educating? Smaller sized courses, much more personalized instruction, much better studying.
Not one particular Yoda on display, an army of them in the flesh.
To me this helps make sense. Hmmmmmm.
Good for spreading the word, twitter is.  Herh herh herh.