Thursday, August 31, 2006

Higher Education perspectives

The goal of this article is to list/tabulate higher education related movements in recent years. Later articles will exam/analys these movement and give advices on higher ed policy.
The Market
Through researches, media report and the competition of world economy, public have been told that higher education means higher pay. This raises the desire of general public in wanting to pursuit the higher ed - for a reason other than the knowledge's sack. With the awareness of general public, the higher ed market is getting hot. Issues in higher ed are also become hot topics and is easier to get public's attention.

Traditional Institutions
The traditional higher ed institutions are elite institutions in that staffs and faculties are the center of the institution. Faculties are very essential. They are given elite status on determine what is important for students and on how to evaluate THEIR students. Even the accredidation system is build on faculties standings instead of students achievement. This kind of system is like the monoch in the past, it's totally depend on self-retrospect to improve. Public institutions become more and more rely on government fund to function. There are very little accountability build into the design.

High cost
The elite status of traditional institutions and the heated market all contribute to the high cost of higher education. As mentioned above, some of the students are pursuing the higher education with career in mind instead of the glossiness of knowledge. All these customers need is what they need to know in order to get jobs. The extra cost associate with traditional institutions in providing broad libra art training is simply a burden to these customer.

The raising of for-profit Institutions
The heated market has promote the for-profit institutions. Some of the leading for-profit institutions follow the structure of traditional institutions. In general, they was able to reduce the cost by running things more efficient. These include standardize curriculm, using same teaching material and make use of technoledge. The bottom line is that they will still provide libra art traings like traditional institution would. There are, however, other bleed of for-profit institution which were traditionally more inline with vocational training. Due to the fact that higher education means higher pay, some of these school are making moves to become four year school. As their tradition dictated, these school likely would not have the same level of libra art courses are traditional four year school would have.

The accountability of higher education
With the heated market and customer with different goal in mind. The accountability of higher education become a heated topic. For private for profit vocational schools that become four year schools, due to their differences from traditional four year schools and creditation agencies, they have been asked to show more accountability than those traditional four year schools. Since these school growing out their vocational root, they are likely to barely meet the requirements of creditation agencies. On the other hand, for traditional institutions, there isn't really a good measurement of the quatlity of their graduates either - you can never directly compare the quality of a MIT graduates with that of University of Nebraska. Because, traditionally, there never have a good indicator on the quality of higher ed graduates, there simply no good way of holding for-profit institution accountable - e.g. gaurding the BS brand name. Period. For customers that hire graduates (e.g. companies), they have a different view on the accountablity. Their main goal is to be able to select the graduates they need. When their employee is not able to show the abilities their degree implied, companies begin to question the quality of a degree, from for profit or not.

Possible articles
Basics of government
  • Froward looking.
  • Provides incentives for desired actions.
  • Listen to what people have to say.
The US education settings
  • Federal government do not have direct authorities on institutions or even the accreditation agencies.

The goal of education
  • Ethic reform - students' attitudes
  • Parent/General Public's ethic reform
The practicle practice
  • Taking oppotunities
  • Educates public
  • Establish realistic rules
  • Clear labeling

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