So much of the discussion around higher education is focused on how much it costs and who should pay. Institutions need more from students and government each year in order to get by. Some argue that learners should foot more of the bill. Others believe that it is government’s responsibility to develop our nation’s talent and so it should pay more or, ideally, all of the costs.
We’re talking about the wrong stuff.
As mentioned in this post about student debt, the problem is that the costs are a product of the structures and operating model in place throughout the higher education sector. This is nobody’s fault. What we have is just what we have inherited and there are a great many things it does extremely well. But we need to look at things more critically and ask if what we have is still appropriate for everything we use it for today and for everybody who uses it.
Without any new, bold ideas for change, all we know with certainty about the future is that the costs (to everyone) are going to go up, and up, and up. Something has to be done.
Beyond those things that impact cost, there are other things we could do to make higher education more learner-friendly. We believe New Zealand can create high-quality, effective learning experiences that are quicker, cheaper and more flexible. We have produced a short think piece on some of the things that we believe will make a significant difference to learners – in terms of flexibility, openness, global connection, industry integration and collaborative efficiencies. Some of them are bold, others we reckon are just simple, common sense.
We intend to explore each of these ideas with learners (and others you give us) in the New Year.
The think piece can be found here. Have a read – keen to hear from anyone at all who has ideas about how we could make education better together. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or just stay in touch with us by registering at www.edcollective.org.nz/join.