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  • American higher education institutions geared up to face challenges
  • Posted By:
  • Kathy H
  • Posted On:
  • 13-Feb-2013
  • A lot of us are worried about the future of our colleges and universities. Even when we are wondering about the fate of our higher education, there are thinkers who are actually bullish about it. They feel that most of our institutions are actually well prepared to handle any crisis even though higher education faces challenges hitherto never seen before.

    Remedies for cost cutting such as boosted endowments, state appropriations, tuition fee hikes and growing research portfolio are fare left behind to 2008. Most of our universities are struggling to generate revenue even as cost cutting continues.

    Come 2012 and we saw big names such as MIT and Harvard offering the online learning platform EdX. MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses were developed subsequently by Stanford called Courser and Udacity.

    Traditional model of education faced great challenge with these announcements. Professors started feeling the threat of not holding on to the information monopoly in classrooms. Ingenuity and creativity of our higher education started being tested by these existential and financial threats.

    Most of our educational institutions are however capable of handling this challenge. To improve efficiency, many of them have developed various initiatives having accepted that they will have to capture revenue sources by tapping the competitive niches.

    The year 2012 saw many universities and colleges becoming a part of a consortium in a bid to move forward by thinking out of the box. Even as they remain true to their mission, they started using new tools and innovative educational models. This is a good sign and a positive step towards enriching our system and bringing it out of the mess it is in.

    There is increased openness towards adopting innovation and generating the necessary revenue. This is a great step towards bringing about a transformative change. Moving forward, there will be a definite shift in institutional behaviour with more of them competing in the global market to attract students. More universities will start realizing the strong need to enter the competition and compete to win.

    Some critics’ claim that our universities are not equipped enough to take up this kind of challenge as they are too complex. Uniform growth is not one of the characteristics of transformation.
    If a few of our universities wake up and decide to face these challenges with innovative changes and are successful, many may follow suit. Out of those who try, some may be successful and some may actually lose their students.

    Looking back at the track record, many universities in our country are definitely capable of being extremely innovative and of facing the current challenge contrary to what critics think. It is clear that our educational institutions are all poised to face the competition with focus on strategic positioning.

    They will use various tools, business models and technologies such as online learning and socialize issues by creating new stakeholder processes. Institutional leadership will now focus on sharing in the planning, prioritize processes and contextualize options. It is clear that there is a lot of hope for our higher education institutions which is what our country desperately needs now.


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