Ever since the advent of COVID-19, we’ve been in a well of uncertainty. Nothing is the same anymore; negative means positive, and staying at home is the new mode of life. What’s worse, some experts predict we’ll no longer have a vaccine for COVID-19 by the end of 2021 – scary, right?
Due to this sudden upheaval, many industries are suffering, and the higher education system is one of them. With COVID-19 driving monumental shifts, educational institutions must do further work to ensure that graduates gain relevant skills and knowledge that better prepare them for the future. However, this is easier said than done.
So, what is the future of higher education? Close your eyes for a moment and try to picture what universities will look like in the upcoming decades. Can you see cool gadgets, drones, super-speed computers, robotic teachers, etc., in your classrooms? While we agree that technology will play a vital role in the future of higher education, what are the other trends that might be at work? Let’s dive into the details.
- Universities and colleges will try to re-open, but it’ll be daunting
The picture is pretty straightforward and vivid. When it comes to the future of higher education, financial drawbacks come first. The majority of universities and colleges intend to conduct studies on-campus. If they don’t call upon their students, they’ll likely experience a financial crisis.
The semester and the overall education processes will not resemble the ones we had before the pandemic. Most lecture halls will meet online. Dining halls will operate at minimum capacity, and all dorm rooms will contain singles. In addition to this, most traditional campus activities will get cut.
As the weather gets cold, higher educational institutions will experience COVID-19 eruptions, and many students will return home again. Some parents might sue the respective education institution when their children get exposed to the virus, or worst-case scenario, die. Others will demand a refund.
- Universities will maintain a significant online presence
Now that most universities and colleges are operating online, administrators and presidents will want them to remain online. Most of the teaching processes will adapt to e-learning processes. All these processes will be central to an aim, i.e., to sustain social distancing. However, when institutions pivot, transforming on-campus degree programs into the permanent online mode of learning brings up many questions. For instance, tenure-track and tenured faculty will raise serious questions and resist this order. Besides, many mutual governance challenges might surface as an outcome.
- Revenue will rise, and costs way up
Even if all educational institutions open, universities will get knocked financially. Enrolment, and tuition revenue, will drop approximately by 30%. In the meantime, operational costs will skyrocket, given dining hall density, decreased dorm and higher cleaning costs, health and IT services, and loss of equalizing additional income.
State schools will witness a significant drop in state funding. Massive layoffs, program terminations, and salary cuts that are already underway will continue to expand. One may expect some educational institutions to declare necessity and use the emergency to enterprise a substantial reordering of academic programming and traditional in-residence education.
- Use Of Less Paper
Increased sustainability and global warming campaigns mean that deforestation would still be scowled upon strappingly in the following years. What does this mean for higher education? Well, this means that we will do away with papers, but for writing and books. This prediction discovers solace that we now have a bunch of online tests that are trusted and tested. Our experts will find ways to get a fair evaluation of students’ academic progress through online tests.
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- Leadership, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills will get prioritized
Throughout centuries, we have had various skills come and go. However, these three aspects are necessary for every field of life. Although current higher education prototypes do not expressly downplay these attributes, they do not directly polish them. Additionally, many researchers have shown that these are the skills that hiring executives look out for in a stellar applicant. In the future, these traits may be taught separately by keen experts in the field.
- New subject areas will surface
Teaching science, mathematics, and English would no longer cut the mustard in light of evolving fields, such as IoT and AI. We’re gearing towards an efficient world that includes smartphones, smart cities, smart homes, and smart grids. One may expect that new subjects like data analytics will be more focused in educational institutions to equip students with the skills for a more digitized world.
The future of higher education is sure to be tense, with distinctions resembling some of the previous forecasts. It is virtually difficult to offer a foolproof prognosis. Still, we can be sure of one thing. The future of higher education will be a bit challenging since students and teachers have to adjust to the new changes while preparing for the future ones.