Will education be outsourced?
One of the more amusing responses I get from the outsourcing essay is the reader’s fervent desire that my profession be the next one vulnerable to outsourcing. Yesterday’s New York Times Education section raises a valuable point — college education via the Internet is already place, in the form of continuing ed. This cover story ...
One of the more amusing responses I get from the outsourcing essay is the reader's fervent desire that my profession be the next one vulnerable to outsourcing. Yesterday's New York Times Education section raises a valuable point -- college education via the Internet is already place, in the form of continuing ed. This cover story points out:
One of the more amusing responses I get from the outsourcing essay is the reader’s fervent desire that my profession be the next one vulnerable to outsourcing. Yesterday’s New York Times Education section raises a valuable point — college education via the Internet is already place, in the form of continuing ed. This cover story points out:
Today, 1 in 12 college students attends a for-profit institution, and the business has grown to $23 billion in annual revenue for 2002, the latest year analyzed by Eduventures, an education market research company in Boston. The University of Phoenix alone has about 201,000 full-time adult students at 142 campuses and learning centers. Enrollment in for-profit institutions is growing at three times the rate of nonprofit colleges and universities, says Sean Gallagher, an analyst with Eduventures. A big part of that growth is in online education. ”Each time we update our forecasts, we find that the online education market is growing a little bit larger than we anticipated,” Mr. Gallagher says. According to a study last year by the Sloan Consortium, a nonprofit association whose mission is to improve online education, more than 1.6 million students took online courses in 2002; nearly 600,000 of them took all their classes in cyberspace. More than a third of higher education institutions offer online courses, and 97 percent of public universities do…. Fitting perfectly is what continuing education strives for. A big part of the business plan is to strip away the elements of a traditional college that cost so much: fancy campuses, dormitories, athletic complexes, tenured faculty and the pond that shows up in every brochure. At the same time, the institutions strip away things that can be frustrating to students — the commute, parking woes, long lines at registration, inconvenient class times. They focus on what in the business world is called customer service, often nonexistent at traditional colleges. ”They tend to be better at student services than traditional institutions are,” Dr. Twigg says. ”Adult students are more demanding. You can still push kids around.”
Even Ph.D. defenses are going digital. It’s just a matter of time before the educators on the other end of the network are based in countries other than the United States. I for one, welcome our new
online overlords competitors. While these schools provide a similar service, as this point they’re expanding the market rather than cutting into a stagnant one. If offshore outsourcing means anything, it means that a lot more people are going to have to get a lot more education. As far as I’m concerned, the more schools, the better.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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