Are Degrees Becomeing Obsolete?
There are many reasons to be cautious about degrees these days.
Short-term credentials are popular among those who already have a degree, but are seeking targeted qualifications.
Nevertheless, there is a disconnect between education and job market.
This is problematic both philosophically and practically.
Young people should be informed of the reality of the world and be cautious about the value of a degree.
With the rising cost of higher education and the changing demographics of the workforce, many people are turning to online learning to complete their education.
A growing number of undergraduates are nontraditional students who are juggling jobs and families with their studies.
As a result, many colleges and universities are introducing online courses and degrees to keep up with the changing needs of their students.
Online courses may be convenient, but they lack the interaction with professors and peers that in-person classes provide.
This means students will be forced to teach themselves most of the information they learn.
This is one of the reasons colleges should continue offering online courses, while expanding their options to include more in-person classes.
The digital shift will also affect the way students prepare for class.
Students will be able to access information and resources online before class.
Additionally, professors will be able to ask students to take their courses online, which is also known as a flipped classroom.
Ultimately, this will allow for more interaction between students and professors while in the classroom.
In addition to eLearning programmes, textbooks and other printed materials will become less essential for higher education.
Teachers will continue to be the backbone of educational systems, but with a wider toolbox of learning tools at their disposal.
This trend is already apparent in Google’s recent search trends report.
In ten years’ time, many students won’t need to buy textbooks again.
They will rely on libraries’ wifi codes and eLearning software to access resources and materials.
A growing number of for-profit schools are losing their edge as students opt for more affordable education options.
In response, the government is cracking down on these schools.
They will no longer be able to receive federal loans if they cannot demonstrate that student loan payments are lower than eight percent of their income.
This will reduce the pool of potential students and reduce the number of nontraditional students who can attend college.
Historically, for-profit colleges targeted nontraditional students, a demographic that is typically older and employed.
They advertised aggressively and claimed to impart valuable skills to students.
They also invested heavily in technology, including the use of online learning, allowing them to operate across the nation and keep costs down.
Colleges such as the University of Phoenix enrolled hundreds of thousands of students and earned billions of dollars every year.
Yet, a recent report reveals that the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded at for-profit schools increased nearly nine times between 1990 and 2010.
The cost of for-profit colleges is prohibitive.
In addition to the perverse profit motives, they are largely subsidized by taxpayers.
As people live longer, the costs of healthcare and childcare continue to rise.
As a result, for-profit colleges are merely a symptom of larger problems.
These institutions fail to protect the social contract and merely compete for the money of students.
If you’re one of the millions of adults who have heard about COVID-19 degrees becoming obsolete, you’re probably a bit alarmed.
This phenomenon has been happening for more than a decade now.
It started with the structural reset, which took place at the start of the worker bull market of 2017-2019.
Then it shifted to a cyclical reset, beginning in 2020, with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has caused severe social and economic suffering, and it is indiscriminate in its infectivity, causing disproportionately disadvantaged people to suffer the most.
Yet it’s still tolerated, and it looks set to remain that way for the foreseeable future.
As a result, COVID-19 deaths are a measure of quality, rather than quantity.
The COVID-19 crisis is a wake-up call.
It articulates the depth of social inequality, and it mobilizes a critique of global capitalism and the corresponding infringements of democracy.
It also forces higher education institutions to confront their shortcomings and to change.
As a result, universities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to a new kind of competition.
The current trend in hiring practices is moving towards more value-based qualifications rather than credentials.
In today’s globalized economy, a four-year college degree no longer guarantees professional success.
Its value proposition has fallen behind the evolving needs of the modern workplace, and employers are now embracing new methods of training their workforce to meet these demands.
Further, COVID-19 has also created a new kind of opportunity for new entrants into the workforce, making college degrees a less desirable option.
Costs of traditional universities
Despite rising tuition costs, traditional universities are still very popular with students.
Stanford University is notoriously expensive, with tuition at around $40,000 a year.
Meanwhile, the University of California-Berkeley charges about $12,000 a year.
As online courses become more affordable, the value of traditional universities may diminish.
Technological advancements are already taking their toll.
Online learning, for example, offers students flexibility and convenience.
Many universities are finding more cost-effective ways to offer online courses.
This means students will not have to worry about traveling to and from campus, and can complete their coursework at their own pace.
Online learning is expected to grow rapidly during the current recession.
Good Thing takes time
Online degrees are seen as less expensive, making them more attractive to many students.
But with the emergence of online degrees, many traditional institutions face class-action lawsuits from parents and students.
As a result, students are becoming increasingly skeptical of the for-profit higher education industry.
Credentials are essentially a list of the skills and qualifications necessary to work a job, and there are literally thousands of these.
From a hotel front desk credential to an artificial intelligence certificate to a nurse practitioner credential, credentials represent skills that are essential for specific jobs.
The proliferation of these credentials has spurred a movement to bring more structure to credentialing.
In the United States, the Credential Transparency Initiative has signed up more than 40 educational institutions, employers and trade groups to develop a registry that can aggregate and display information about credentials.
One of the biggest shortcomings of credentials is the lack of consumer-friendly data.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of different credentials, and they all have different value.
As such, it’s difficult to make sense of them.
In addition, the economic value of a credential depends on the skills and knowledge of the person, as well as the personality and relationships of that individual.
As the world of work becomes more digitalized, the role of credentials will shift.
In the future, they will be viewed more as building blocks for applicants, and employers will use them to judge the worth of candidates.
This will make traditional university transcripts increasingly obsolete and only relevant for post-graduate applications.
This will change the structure of education and training, and introduce concepts such as stackability and modularity.
Despite what many people think, non-degree pathways are still a viable way to a college degree.
The fact is, employers are less reliant on degree-based hiring.
Instead, they are describing job candidates’ capabilities explicitly.
Additionally, more employers are recognizing the importance of soft skills.
This means that skill providers are rethinking their curricula to include these skills.
Another advantage of non-degree pathways is that they give students the flexibility to take classes that interest them.
Rather than taking unrelated classes and wasting money on unrelated courses, non-degree students can choose a program that meets their individual needs and interests.
In this way, they can earn relevant skills and knowledge to advance their careers.
American economic prosperity depends on a highly skilled workforce.
To keep up with the demands of global competition, the US must continue to invest in the education and training of its workers.
Without effective career preparation, the workforce will be unprepared and will not achieve its potential.
That is why policymakers must help both future workers and employers make the right choices.
The report identifies several strategies to improve career pathways.
As technology continues to advance, employers are looking beyond credentials to find talent.
With the development of big data analytics, employers can identify and quantify skills, thereby improving the hiring process.
This transformation of the hiring process has the potential to democratize learning, unleash new innovation and create more opportunities for all Americans.
It also will help fuel the rise of skills as a new currency.