Singapore did something to combat the rise of China and that is why they are where they are today. They have positioned themselves as a financial centre and an educational centre, but they are only a pimple on the very edge of Asia. Their rise is partly due to the fall of the 20th-century superpowers of the USA, Europe and Japan. If these superpowers were not drowning in debt then Singapore would not be as important in the world as it is today. Shanghai and Singapore may be the leading financial centres in the world very soon.
In the past, it seems foreign universities flocked to set up in Singapore, but now I think the flocking is to China. They have to flock away from the dying 20th-century superpowers to survive. And the only places to go are the far east, the near east, the middle east, the eastern bloc and a few out of the way places that no one wants to go to. Now Russia could be the next education centre competing with China, or more likely they will be working together.
When you have to learn Mandarin and Russian to go to university then the balance of power is complete.
If America keeps finding oil and natural gas on their soil and Europe does the same we could wave goodbye to the Middle East as an up and coming education centre, where I think education is free.
Free education could have been the start of the demise of education in the west. When the government pays, the price goes up.
In the dying 20th century superpowers, universities lived of government funding and government-guaranteed student loans. So the price of education kept increasing, and that has priced them out of the market place. Now if you want an education it is cheaper to leave the dying 20th-century superpowers, except Germany, and go to the East. There you can learn the language of the future as well as get a degree. And if you play it right you can get a scholarship from their government, or your government as is the case in NZ.
Then you can stay on and work in one of the 21st-century superpowers.
Now the biggest change to hit mankind since the printing press or fire for that matter, is heading to a university near you. And when it gets there, change is the word. Will the universities of the 20th century upgrade or downsize, or go extinct to accommodate the new generation. The generation who have been brought up in front of a screen, in cyberspace. The generation who can get what they want at the click of a mouse, or the touch of a screen. Are they going to go to a physical campus or a virtual campus? Are their internet friends who they have never met going to influence them to go to a virtual campus. Or will their classmates from school drag them off to a physical campus? Only time will tell.
MOOCs are an introduction to courses at a physical university, but they are also an introduction to the virtual university world of the future. And they introduce the MOOCers to what they can do in cyberspace. How many MOOCs will now attempt an online university instead of going to a physical campus? The change MOOCs are inflicting on the future hasn’t got here yet, not surprising they have only been around for a couple of years. Give them time.
Now with the after-effects of the 2007 economic crisis still with us. Where lots of graduates still haven’t got jobs, maybe the mindset of getting into university at any cost is no longer relevant. And the cost is the factor and so is the major. So where can you get a world-class education at a price you can afford. Try going to the East or cyberspace. It is still cheaper to go to the east now, but that might change as the internet generation comes of age. Also as universities have priced themselves out of the market place and the half-life of what you learn at university is getting shorter, why go to university. All you need is a diploma in a specific subject and you could get a job. Better still get the diploma while you are working. Not four years later and anything from $20,000 to over $100,000 in debt. And when companies accept MOOCs on a CV then education is free, anyway so far.
Peter Lovegrove is in the process of writing a new book. One of his other books in education is about teaching your children to read using phonics and Montessori sandpaper letters. This book is about MOOCs, what they are, how to do them, and the effect they might have on the future of education as we know it. This site is (c) Copyright Peter LeGrove 2004-2014, All Rights Reserved.
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