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Sunday, August 11, 2013

Four Future Scenarios for Higher Education: a basic understanding

A reading of the Four Future Scenarios for Higher Education enabled me to gain insights into the thought-process of creating my own scenarios. As a first step, I decided to de-thread them strand by strand and then analyze ever aspect which eventually put my mind in 'drive' mode or even 'over-drive' you would say.

Scenario 1 highlights the fact that with extensive networking among educational institutions, tertiary education would become internationalized and cross national boundaries. Although English would still remain the lingua-franca very translating software will make education linguistically inclusive. This would make learning English to pursue further education redundant. A global post-secondary network will enable anyone to study anything from anywhere at anytime by coursework, project or work-based assessment, Recognition of Prior Learning/Knowledge or Recognition of Current Competency which will give room for direct assessments and accelerated completion of courses.

Scenario 2 focuses on internalization or localization of tertiary institutions and the ability of the nation to look inwards and be self-sufficient and in a way selfish (from a global, more humanitarian perspective). As higher education is mostly government funded the policies and political protocol gives little room for international relationships. Teaching remains the main job of academicians and research a by-product. Research is done in some key areas that the government identifies as important and the entire system is rift with an anti-globalization movement.

In scenario 3, public funding and providers of tertiary education turn to business magnates and benefactors to back their plans of offering open courses. Many universities become self-funding or deemed universities. Privatization of education creates a plethora of educational institutions that attach themselves to business organizations and create pathways from their educational portals to the world of employment mainly offered by their sponsors – major business organizations. These institutions become elitists in the field of education and research while the other providers have to compete with each other for public funding and the sparse government financial allocation for education and research. This would create major concerns in accountability, credibility efficiency and effectiveness of systems.

Senario 4 is the most realistic scenario, I reckon. It highlights the fact that educational institutions will face fierce global competition in providing educational services and doing research in areas that are “in demand”, due to the changing global employment focus and the international research scenario. While the more popular fields receive private and public funding the government tries to subsidize education in more non-commercial areas and provide meagre funding in similar research fields. Competition among students is also fierce, each one vying to get into the most prestigious institutions of higher education. English continues to dominate the world educational system as the lingua-franca of higher education and research.

From my understanding of these scenarios, I am able to perceive four varied strands of what may happen in the future and as the future is very fluid and volatile any one of them could prevail over the others, making them marginally unimportant or even redundant.


  1. Great - -Can see your blog now that you've made it public. You don't need to include the "#" when using a label in a blog post. You may want to include a link to the scenarios you are reflecting on. Many scenarios in this course ;-).

    1. Hi Wayne & Niki,
      Thanks for the opportunity to participate in the SP4Ed course. It was a very rewarding experience. The readings and video signposts were thought-provoking and stimulating. I enjoyed reading the blog posts of other participants and the WE aggregated posts, as well.
      I had to take a week longer to complete the course because of my new job commitments, but didn't miss out on following the trail of posts on WE and doing my own ferreting of the web for information.
      Thanks again and best wishes.

  2. Thanks Wayne. This is a BIG learning curve for me. Privacy and Publicity. I'm so speculative of public visibility. Have facebook and twitter accounts and have accessed multiple platforms online, but have held back from allowing public access. It's fine with my own students (when I was a teacher) and with colleagues (now) as an administrator, but "open" ... always felt uncomfortable about it. Am learning to get around that, now esp. with this peer interaction.

  3. Hi Wayne,
    I'm not sure why my blog posts are not automatically getting updated in the Aggregated #SP4Ed feed. Also my photo from wikieducator isn't displayed with my WEposts. Could you help me?