Global Agenda Council on the Future of Universities 2012-2013
Universities, the engines of economic growth, contribute substantially to human capital development. Educational enterprises are increasingly exposed to transformations in society, such as the omnipresence of the Internet, the growing importance of distance learning, greater intellectual entrepreneurship, international collaborations and new models of partnership between universities, NGOs and business organizations.
The Council has been exploring how these elements modify the ecosystem of higher education. How do “classic” universities adapt to or resist these changes and what are the reasons for doing so? Do innovations, particularly in the field of connectivity, provide meaningful solutions to increase access to studies? Why are so many top universities aggressively pursuing online opportunities?
Although discussions around these questions are relatively new, academic, business and political leaders need to address them and shape a sustainable model of higher education that continues its contribution to societies across the globe. The University of the Future is taking form.
- Some estimates indicate that the cost of higher education in the United States has increased twelvefold since 1978.
- Affordability of higher education varies significantly between countries: the average cost represents 110% of the median income in Japan while it is only 2% in Norway.
- Since it began in April 2012, Coursera, the free open online course, has enrolled 1.57 million students.
“When we posted on the website that we were taking registration and the course would start in March, my colleague Piotr Mitros called and said, ‘We’re getting 10,000 registrations a day’.”
Anant Agarwal, Professor edX, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
“It's a lot easier to watch the video three times than put your hand up in class and say 'I don't get it’.”
Daphne Koller, Professor, Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, Stanford University, USA
“Our predecessors in, say, 1870, understood the research university as we know it today about as clearly as today we are likely to understand what universities will look like a century from now. I am taken with the following phrase: We need no less than a new Enlightenment based on the principle 'from local universalism to global contextualism’.” This counter-intuitive juxtaposition of what is universal and what is contextual will, perhaps, help us think more deeply about the global university so many of us are trying to build.”
Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs, Columbia University, USA
World Innovation Summit for Education
13-15 November 2012
Third International Conference on e-Learning and Distance Learning
4-7 February 2013
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
The Global Agenda Council on the Future of Universities brings together traditional and new academic organizations and leaders from the public and private sectors to examine how universities are evolving in the rapidly changing environment of today. It seeks to track trends, changes and new models in higher education and research and to highlight policy implications at national and international levels.
The Council will take up three key themes for discussion in 2012-13. First, it will look at transformative and disruptive technologies to evaluate their impact on capacity building, especially in developing countries. The key questions it will examine will be: how the classroom is evolving, how online courses are a successful complement or alternative to classical methods and what different models of online training exist. Discussions will include thinking about the purpose and design of online platforms, their content and presentation, and certification and the value of course completion.
A second area of interest is in the economics of education in general. What are the differences between a private and a public model of higher education? What should the involvement of industry in universities be, and what are the advantages and disadvantages of a close relationship between the two? Moreover, when it comes to funding research, can the right balance be found between top-down, large-scale and investigator-initiated bottom-up awards?
Third, the concept of a Global University is also gaining significant traction. What would it look like? To what extent are universities responsible for the creation and dissemination of knowledge in this context? How will academic institutions strike a balance between their intellectual traditions and the new educational models that are emerging? These and several related topics will be examined in light of the implications of the information and communications technology revolution for the university.
Research Analyst: Marc Caverzasio, Global Agenda Councils, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Manager: Viktoria Ivarsson, Senior Manager, Academic Networks, email@example.com
Forum Lead: Michele Petochi, Director, Academic Networks, firstname.lastname@example.org