Higher Education Value for Money or simply ‘Big Business’ An Avalanche is coming

Veronica writes

‘AN AVALANCHE IS COMING’ claims Donnelly, Barber and Rizvi (2013) That will sweep way the system of higher education as we now know it unless the necessary adjustments are made in the required time frame. Donnelly, Barber and Rizvi (2013) posits that if the parties concerned act boldly now the next 50 ( fifty ) years could be a golden era for higher education but if they do not act in required time frame -higher education system as we know it will have been swept away by the avalanche of changes heightened by globalization.

What is education? What qualities should anyone look for in an educated man? Allan Bloom the philosopher said of education ‘ it is the movement from darkness to light’ Education can be viewed as action or the process of the acquisition of knowledge and the ensuing development resulting from this process. Education is not, however, the same as training, even though training may be one of the ingredients of education. A person who has been taught to repair a car or play football can be said to have received training, but such training is not education. Likewise, learning is a necessary ingredient of education, not all forms of learning lead to education Animals can be trained but they lack the intelligence that according to Mohanan, (2010) is essential for the kind of learning that makes a person educated An educated person, therefore, is one who has undergone a process of learning that results in enhanced mental capability to function effectively in familiar and novel situations in personal and intellectual life (Mohanan, 2010). An educated person as presented would have acquired :the knowledge deemed to be general thinking abilities to build knowledge , the language for critiquing, the ability to communicate clearly, precisely, for epistemic purposes, the capability for independent learning, the capability to engage in rational modes of inquiry, and, crucially ,the mindset that facilitates all the qualities mentioned above ( Mohanan 2010) In essence the educated man should be able to learn, apply, unlearn and relearn. ‘Educatedness’ is acquired via a channel of formal education. However formal education according to Zib, (1987) is offered in a systematic, organized education model, structured and administered according to a given set of laws and norms, presenting a rather rigid curriculum as regards objectives, content and methodology In contrast Zib, (1987) , argues that non-formal education characteristics are found when the adopted strategy does not require student attendance, decreasing the contacts between teacher and student and most activities take place outside the institution as for instance, home reading and paperwork. Endowed with flexible curricula and methodology, capable of adapting to the needs and interests of students, and is contingent upon the student’s work pace. Non-formal education seems better to meet the individual needs of students (

‘Educatedness’ is acquired via a channel of formal education. However formal education according to Zib, (1987) is offered in a systematic, organized education model, structured and administered according to a given set of laws and norms, presenting a rather rigid curriculum as regards objectives, content and methodology In contrast Zib, (1987) , argues that non-formal education characteristics are found when the adopted strategy does not require student attendance, decreasing the contacts between teacher and student and most activities take place outside the institution as for instance, home reading and paperwork. Endowed with flexible curricula and methodology, capable of adapting to the needs and interests of students, and is contingent upon the student’s work pace. Non-formal education seems better to meet the individual needs of students

An educated person, therefore, is one who has undergone a process of learning that results in enhanced mental capability to function effectively in familiar and novel situations in personal and intellectual life (Mohanan, 2010). An educated person as presented would have acquired :the knowledge deemed to be general thinking abilities to build knowledge , the language for critiquing, the ability to communicate clearly, precisely, for epistemic purposes, the capability for independent learning, the capability to engage in rational modes of inquiry, and, crucially ,the mindset that facilitates all the qualities mentioned above ( Mohanan 2010) In essence the educated man should be able to learn, apply, unlearn and relearn. ‘

‘Educatedness’ is acquired via a channel of formal education. However formal education according to Zib, (1987) is offered in a systematic, organized education model, structured and administered according to a given set of laws and norms, presenting a rather rigid curriculum as regards objectives, content and methodology In contrast Zib, (1987) , argues that non-formal education characteristics are found when the adopted strategy does not require student attendance, decreasing the contacts between teacher and student and most activities take place outside the institution as for instance, home reading and paperwork. Endowed with flexible curricula and methodology, capable of adapting to the needs and interests of students, and is contingent upon the student’s work pace. Non-formal education seems better to meet the individual needs of students    (Ward, Sawyer .McKinney & Dettoni ,1974)

Barnett,(2007) however argues that the concept of education is in itself a part of the concept of Higher education Since higher education refers to a personal level of individual development above that that is connoted by the term ‘ education ’. It includes all the activities a given country deems to be higher education – not only those that take place within ordinary universities and graduate schools, but shorter term education and training courses (polytechnics, junior colleges, and various forms of technical specialty schools) that are 2-3( two to three) years in length, and even correspondence courses that make use of information technology and are targeted at a broad population of students Martin Luther King Jnr .had said ‘ intelligence plus character that is the true goal of education However this level of personal development although attractive has been becoming increasingly burdensome as the funding of higher education has been thrust more on the individual. While the value added by a first degree is being eroded it seems daily. The traditional university, government regulated and nationalistic in nature is now facing the challenges that globalization ensued. This process of interaction and integration among people.

While the value added by a first degree is being eroded it seems daily. The traditional university, government regulated and nationalistic in nature is now facing the challenges that globalization ensued. This process of interaction and integration among people companies, governments of different nations that is driven by international trade and investments is also aided by information technology. Thus globalization has impacted culture, political systems, environment, economic and human development and prosperity and well-being around the world. Globalization it has also affected higher education. More access to higher education aided by Massive Open Online Courses ( MOOCS). Students are shopping locally as well as internationally. Reduced public funding globally and increased private funding through loans or direct payments has made higher education increasingly costly

The questions of value are becoming sharper as the cost of getting a degree rises. This year, the National Center for Education Statistics in the US pointed out: ‘Between 2000/01 and 2010/11, prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions rose 42%, and prices at private, not-for-profit institutions rose 31% after adjustment for inflation.’ According to the Wall Street Journal on February 28, 2013, total student debt in the US is up 51 percent from 2008–2012 and now totals nearly $1 trillion. Moreover, 35 percent of students under 30 with debt are delinquent (90 days or more behind with their payments), compared to just 21 percent in 2004. The cost pressures on public universities in England were a major reason why the British government created the new student fee regime in 2010 and introduced it in 2012 In Jamaica data as cited by Dergisi & Eğitimi (2010) revealed that the two main institutions of UTECH and UWI in November 2010 had 5898 beneficiaries in arrears, owing an amount of over J$947M This represented 64% of the loan made available to students in 2010. UWI students owed at that time 2010 -J$610.91M or 64% of the amount, while UTECH students owed J$337.39M or 36%. A level of delinquency that the researcher said would restrict the ability of the Student Loan Bureau (SLB) to respond to the needs of future students.

Loan Bureau (SLB) to respond to the needs of future students.
Students need guidance to focus on not only learning and becoming educated but on being strategic players in the marketplace. Students should study to suit job markets. More should pursue careers in STEM STEM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. Discussion of STEM-related programs had become a presidential priority for the previous President Obama because too few college students are pursuing degrees in these fields. The U.S. Department of Labor expects that there will be 1.2 million job openings in STEM-related fields by 2018, but there won’t be enough qualified graduates to fill them.
Christensen. & Eyring (2011) argues that as the cost of higher education rises to students. The university has to adjust. The researcher through an examination of ‘ Harvard’ and’ BYU-Idaho’ as well as other stories of innovation in higher education suggested new ways forward. New ways to deal with curriculum, faculty issues, enrollment, retention, graduation rates, campus facility usage, and a host of other urgent issues in higher education and presented a strategic model to ensure economic vitality at the traditional university

Christensen. & Eyring (2011 ) argues that there is a remorseless increase in cost is driven by the ‘bigger-and-better tendency’. Each university is striving to become Harvard, but the basic point is surely undeniable. The problem from the point of view of the undergraduate student is that much of the cost base of a traditional university is irrelevant to their experience and sometimes. as highly-paid expert research professors avoid undergraduate teaching responsibilities (Barton & Yun ( 2012) Simon & Ensign (2013 ) and Christensen & Eyring 2011) The quality higher education marketed is not the quality experienced. Unemployment awaits and heavy student loan debts is often the end results ‘An avalanche is coming’:, as the price charged to the student is not matching quality outcomes Students tend to equate cost with quality thus think additional cost is directly correlated with higher quality.

While graduates are less likely to be unemployed much depends on the nature of the degree and employers often question the skills a degree provides. Richard D Stephens, senior vice president for human resources and management claimed a recent study in the US showed a significant difference in the risk of unemployment among recent university graduates depending on their major. Those that majored in the liberal arts and non-technical subjects had some of the highest rates of unemployment (around 11 percent), while those with more technical expertise had significantly lower rates. Another study a recent survey from the National Association of College Employers found similar results. In average, earnings by Engineering major was the highest, at $75,000, while psychology, social work, and education had the lowest, at $42,000. ‘An avalanche is coming (Barber, Donnelly and Rizvi,2013) ’,

‘An avalanche is coming (Barber, Donnelly and Rizvi,2013) ’. The number of graduates in the world is increasing rapidly, partly due to the growing proportion of each age group going to university in developed countries,(Barber, Donnelly & Rizvi, 2013). By 2020, China alone will account for 29 percent of all the university graduates in the world aged 25–34., there will be as many Chinese graduates in that age group as in the entire US labour force. In addition to this. The prized first class honors are being devalued as the number of graduates gaining first class honors in the UK has more than doubled in the past decade. In just four years, the number has increased by 45 per cent. This trending matter alongside the changing demands of the global labour market drives the questions about the likely value of a traditional degree
The talk of the university as the agent of personal development that creates a finished good the educated man. A desirous outcome doubtlessly as one forms; social capital bridges that form linkages connecting people or groups further up or lower down the social ladder. The potential benefits of friends and families being able to help us emotionally, socially and economically Bourdieu, (1986)  Social capital has value, doubtlessly. Intellectual capital /personal capital the- Knowledge and competencies residing within the person. Financial capital who knows you know what you know… Familiar terms being used. However, Higher Education Institutions has some adjustments to make now, students too and all stakeholders. Or, An Avalanche is coming that will erode higher education as we know it.

Conclusion

Education, to be meaningful. must become the innovative, relevant, safe and reasonable solutions to the challenges that face us all nationally and globally Lecturers and students need to become partners that will drive this change. The government, Civil Society, Private sector and Philanthropists should work together to support the work of the drivers of change or an avalanche is coming. As Martin Luther King Jnr. said ‘ Intelligence plus character that is the true goal of education” it is the character that will ensure all comes together for the greater good of humanity.

williamsburroughs1teacherquotes_Oprahschool-itok=fivd0RFzimagesdepositphotos_4133156-stock-photo-education-and-graduation-capimages (1)

References
Barnett R , (1997) The idea of higher education Buckingham SRHE & OUP

Barber M., Donnelly K and Rizvi S. (2013) An avalanche is coming.Higher education         and the revolution ahead. Retrieved from http://www.avalancheiscoming.com/             April 5,2017.

Bourdieu, P. (1986) The forms of capital. In J. Richardson (Ed.) Handbook of Theory          and Research for the Sociology of Education (New York, Greenwood), 241-258.

Christensen. C & Eyring H (2011) The Innovative University: Changing the DNA of             Higher Education from the Inside Out Retrieved from
https://net.educause.edu/ir/library/pdf/ff1207s.pdf April 5, 2017

Eğitimi O & Dergisi E. Journal of Teacher Education and Educators Retrieved from
http://www.jtee.org/document/issue3/MAK5.pdf April 5, 2017

Mohanan K .P Who is an educated person? .Ingredients of Educatedness Retrieved           from http://www.iiserpune.ac.in/~mohanan/educated/who.htm April 5,2017

Ward T.W, Sawyer F.D, .McKinney L., &. Dettoni I.,(1974) “Effective Learning: Lessons        To Be Learned From Schooling, in “Effective learning in Non-Formal Education”,        Michigan State University,

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Higher Education Value for Money or simply ‘Big Business’ An Avalanche is coming

23 thoughts on “Higher Education Value for Money or simply ‘Big Business’ An Avalanche is coming

  1. shenzhem says:

    Well Veronica I hope I got it right.

    With the onset of globalization and the impact it has and will continue to have on higher education, the nature of the system has been changing. Globalization has several implications and if HEIs fail to develop strategic frameworks that will aim at addressing these issues then the future of tertiary education is at risk – an avalanche is coming.

    Veronica questions whether or not higher education is providing quality education or is it simply a business. In the past week tertiary institutions in Jamaica have been in the news as students face the possibility of not sitting final exams due to outstanding balances. The situation has intensified and the government has gotten involved to the extent that they have advised that they will contribute 100 million to each institution to assist students. One must be cognizant of the fact that universities also have expenses to meet and with continued reduction in government funding HEIs will continue to create other avenues for generating income SUCH AS increased tuition cost.

    But as Veronica puts it are we getting quality? Quality is of paramount importance and one could question whether or not HEIs are meeting their mandate of developing critically thinkers and the ideal graduate that would be ready to meet the needs of the country. Hall and tuition fees continue to increase but are students getting value for their money? Are lecturers being creative in their delivery of teaching styles and engagement with the students in the class? In some cases yes but the question of quality still stands.

    How then can we avoid this avalanche? All stakeholders identified by Veronica in her conclusion – are all relevant to this process of expanding and developing tertiary education. At the end of the day graduates must reflect that which was taught and experienced at the university. If nothing is achieved at the end of the degree programme then who has failed? The system has failed students? , The teachers? or the students?

    As it relates to globalization and culture, HEIs would need to tap into the campus experience of the students to ensure that students are fully aware of their identity to avoid it becoming extinct due to this avalanche.

    Veronica echoes that each university wants to be a Harvard but to get to Harvard’s level the foundations have to be solid. HEIs must go back to the drawing board and evaluate their missions ensuring that they are meeting the needs of their consumers. Whilst money is needed to fund the institution – a sound education is needed to sustain the country and the world that graduates will be giving back to.

    Therefore, with increased tuition, increased quality education has to be a priority – developing employable graduates who can contribute wholesomely to the society.

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    1. verinica5 says:

      You have interpreted correctly. My emphasis is that all the stakeholders have to unite to preserve higher education..Higher education has a cluster of aims and values as argued in, Barnett (1997 that has been traditionally associated with it.It was never intended initially to meet the need for professional competence in the labour market.The focus of higher education were; the pursuit of truth and objective knowledge , research liberal education, institutional autonomy academic freedom, a neutral open forum for debates, rationality, the development of students critical abilities and autonomy the student character formation, providing a critical center within society and preserving society intellectual culture.

      Higher education became involved with professional competence in the labour market when the state affected higher education autonomy and academic freedom, as Barnett (1997) puts it, when higher education was ” swept up by the states” (p.11) From a period of nationhood through to globalization and beyond the face of higher education has changed from what traditionally was embodied in the meaning. From elitism to mass access and finally to universal access aided by information technology. Higher education was originally offered at university Now a myriad of post secondary institutes are now offering higher education. Globalization and the impact socially , culturally and economically has resulted in the materialization of higher education.

      in Europe where higher education was initially free fees have emerged Government has reduced subsidies globally and the higher education institutions are forced to find innovative ways to survive. Less tenures are being offered to academic as the administrators now have a wider pool of staff to employ. Professors and lectures now feel lees loyal to institutions ad they sometimes may offer their services elsewhere in order to survive economically. More adjunct staff are being employed Tuition has increased, advertisements of each institution uniqueness increased as each compete for the students dollars in the market place. More private institution of higher education has emerged.Life long learning has become common place in the knowledge based world where as professional you are forced to grow or risk being left behind The rise of (MOOCS) massive online courses in addition offering post secondary education and the ever growing number of institutions have now made quality assurance a critical issue

      The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) founded in the early 1991, defines its role as “to promote and advance excellence in higher education through the support of an active international community of quality assurance agencies. the United States-based Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (a non-governmental organization),to ensures quality assurance is maintained. The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) disseminates information, experiences and good practices in the field of quality assurance in higher education to (QA) agencies, public authorities and higher education institutions in the European Higher Education Area and. The[ UCJ in Jamaica. all were set up to ensure quality education is being offered and to protect the students from fake higher education institutes with fake accreditation organizations and fake degrees

      Higher education has become big business in a global market place. In a world where it seems materialization has replaced value. Education is a means of upward mobility. This is not a new concept but it now seem character formation and education for the good of humanity. is now superseded by earning potential

      AN AVALANCHE IS COMING… unless all stakeholders can come up with a hybrid that preserves quality, higher education, keep the higher education institutes economically viable so that faculty quality can be preserved and higher education can continue to reproduce its host society both economically and culturally

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  2. trevis24 says:

    Universities are no longer concerned with providing quality education but instead their philosophies are more in line with those of a business. How else can you explain the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, decision to bar all final year students with outstanding balance from sitting their final exams? If they were largely concerned with student outcome then the balance would not have been that a big deal. Spare me the arguments of expenses etc as i will not buy it. There are countries that have realized it is only through quality education can they get a population that is employable and able to contribute to the development of the country. The avalanche you refer to is the administrators of the HEIs.

    Matthews (2017) in an article on for times higher education expressed that “in Germany, students — on the whole — famously pay no tuition fees, regardless of where they come from”. I want to posit that this is a means by which the avalanche of greedy and crazy HEI administrators around the world can look in to. Adopt policies similar to that of Germany, provide the education needed to improve the employability of our students. Students should not be going to school and wondering if they will be allowed to sit an exam if they are not financially cleared.

    You spoke of the Student Loan Bureau (SLB) being restricted by delinquency, I want to rubbish such a claim because they are not doing as much as they can do to offset the cost of Higher Education for students. Let me point out to you that Dunkley (2012) reported that “The bureau, led by executive director Monica Brown, appeared before the committee to explain why some $80 million in grant funds were not disbursed to students for this financial year, but instead got ranked as savings”. If monies were set aside for students to assist with their HE why was it not disbursed to them, this is because to SLB higher education too is a business for them. Let me remind you that this figure later increased to be 150 million and not 80 million as additional monies were found. No one is out to assist higher education students, they are only interested in increasing their purse. I wish that you realize the magnitude of the business of higher education especially here in Jamaica.

    With those two point i maintain that higher education will be swept away because of the business like approach it faces daily. There is no focus on quality education or development but more so maximizing on the profits that can be gained. Education need not be so expensive as in some cases [programmes] but it is our reality. If we are not careful we will experience an avalanche so enormous and swift that higher education will erode without us realizing.

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    1. realchez says:

      WOW Trevis…when you hit you really hit hard…
      …”How else can you explain the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, decision to bar all final year students with outstanding balance from sitting their final exams? If they were largely concerned with student outcome then the balance would not have been that a big deal…” Trevis, Trevis..

      Students leave the University of the West Indies (UWI) regularly with the universities money so at what point do they try to collect? They do not operate on the premise that this is a free university. If you want free then go to Germany. When you decide to attend UWI, Mona that is not free, no way it’s free.
      So how do they get their money when it is your final semester? Have they not heard all the stories? Have they not had compassion right through? It hurt like hell, but there have been different systems in place to facilitate persons who find it difficult to pay… student loans, bursaries, scholarships, student assistant opportunities, along with several others…

      Additionally, I could use the library fines and outstanding books – thousands of books that have not been returned and much more monies outstanding because students do not stand up to their responsibilites. What then? The library/university has to replace those books for the other students to benefit if they can. Time has gotten harder Trevis…desperate times call for desperate measures…its rough, I agree…but its not free – avalanche, depends on which side of the fence you are on.

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      1. shenzhem says:

        Chez I was just about to say the same to Trevis. I agree with you, the institution also has expenses and several warnings and reminders have been sent to student. Jamaica’s economy cannot afford free tuition for all, unfortunate but yes some of us will have to pay, at what point would the HEIs collect the outstanding balances. We have seen cases where students have been pardon to sit their exams and upon completion of their programmes they fail to pay the fees although they are employed in professions such as medicine, law, engineering etc. So it is harsh, it is hard – THIS IS WHERE as a country we need to look at the system and see how best we can avoid these problems. By doing so we will need an economy that can support all these costs. Government funding is constantly reducing – so universities are going to start to think business like to see how best they can sustain themselves. THE CYCLE CONTINUES…..

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    2. verinica5 says:

      Trevis you are hitting out hard on University of the West Indies Germany is one of 7 (seven places in the world offering free higher education. there are France , Sweden Slovenia, Norway, Brazil and, Finland Germany is offering free education as they are short of skilled workers. you may go and have problems returning. The UWI do try to facilitate students but remember there are costs to cover. The issue is that Governments generally world wide has cut back subsidies to higher education How then do the stakeholders ride the changes and emerge victorious. The face of higher education is dynamic It has never been static. From elite to universal access,But an assault has been launched on quality. It is an avalanche that is coming: fake accreditation agencies to licence fake universities, overall drop in quality graduates, growing number of unemployed graduates with growing student loan debts. Access that is now becoming restricted because of limited funds for the even the middle class in the USA for example. Higher education is a public good and the University has been historically a place from / higher from which revolts have started.AN AVALANCHE IS COMING
      The emphasis on skills over it seem critical thinking skills as STEM is lauded over liberal arts degrees’ University wants to make profit or even stay afloat so reduce cost by cutting budget to faculties , reducing number of tenures being offered and seasoned professionals opting not teach under graduates .In the USA a policy ‘no child left behind ” was implemented. Teacher quality was questioned. Emphasis was placed on learning outcomes.Teachers were licensed according to the norm they laid down. But in response big companies started manufacturing educational products to measure learning outcome. Test to test , outsources information technology software then reselling it back to the government It became big business.There is a need for all stakeholders to unite to protect the space of higher education or as said before an avalanche is coming………………

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  3. vestinao says:

    How then can we avoid this avalanche? What Avalanche and what or who triggered it? Isn’t it true the more things change, is the more they remain the same? I don’t understand why we think that as a developing country we should compete with what developed countries offer in education, especially where free tuition is concerned. What is the time frame for this avalanche again? and How can we stop it if it is going to come? After all this is the 21st century where value for money can be search via the internet. Higher education is a big business and value for your return is maximized by personal input. I don’t see anything new about this phenomena, just another era.

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    1. verinica5 says:

      True VESTIANO the more things change the more they remain the same Higher education started elitist are we headed back there? YOU say value for money can be searched on the internet Please be reminded of fake universities and fake accreditation agencies. True too value can to some extent be obtained by personal input. But am sure you are aware that there are factors that can affect your outcome beyond your control

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  4. Lotoya Bond says:

    Whether the avalanche is coming yes or no, we just have to do what needs to be done. Education is very important to the well being of an individual life. Everyone should be given an equal opportunity to get an education however; it is not free. Everyone who believes in the true value of education need to take on the responsibility from an early stage to start saving towards it “one, one coco full basket”. I will not say that Jamaica can never offer free education to students like Germany however; that is not possible right now based on the present stage of the economy. As Realchez mentioned, there are opportunities out there for students who are having challenges to pay such as student loans, bursaries, scholarships and others. They just need to set goals, focus and work towards achieving them.

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    1. verinica5 says:

      College enrollment of black 18-19-year-old high school graduates declined from 1980 through 1984 and then rebounded after 1984.Kane (1970) presents data from a time series of cross sections of
      18-19-year-old youths from 1973 through 1988 to test the role of family background, direct college costs, local economic conditions, and returns to college in driving these trends. The evidence suggests that, on the one hand, increases in direct college costs were driving enrollment rates downward throughout the eighties. On the other hand, dramatic increases in average parental education for black youths exerted upward pressure on college enrollment by blacks,
      particularly in the latter half of the decade. (kane (1970), in his work entitled ‘college entry by blacks, the role of college cost,family background. The reality not every one has equal possibility of access., Colour, class. gender economics, factors beyond peoples’ control keep them too often where they were born. In order to get out the poor man’s child faces a daunting task and many fail. Education and higher education need be prioritized. the emphasis was placed in Jamaica in recent past for example on getting more students qualified for higher education (Transnational Report – Case Study: Jamaica October 2003) Maybe government globally need to return to basic more money needs to be channeled into higher education to ensure equity Look at UWI MONA you can study medicine if you can find the the exorbitant fees to cover lack of government subsidy on the non sponsored side where the GPA to access is not as high as on the sponsored side. Look at the LLB degree once you can pay your way all is well. On the campus it seem juxtaposed in one space there is a private and a public university. An avalanche is coming it is not the brightest and best but now more and more it is on purchasing power. IS EDUCATION A BUSINESS OR A PUBLIC GOOD?

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  5. shanique101 says:

    Good job Veronica.

    Statistics shows that far more people are graduating from universities these days. While this is commendable, it does not move me one bit…I am not even twitching. While universities are operating like a productive factory – manufacturing degrees and churning out graduates, I doubt these graduates are truly employable. Selingo (2001) posited that universities main purpose should be to train students for the working world. I do not think that most universities are doing this. I will not pick on UWI, Mona because other local higher education institutes are just as guilty of not producing industry-ready graduates. What is the sense of having a degree but cannot adapt to the needs of the job? What is the sense of having a degree that is useless in your context?

    The avalanche is coming but it could have been avoided or it could have been a storm of change.

    Universities need to focus on graduate’s employability and not on quantity. Too often QUALITY gets pushed aside for quantity all because these institutions need money to operate. Sometimes we ought to adapt Charmin’s Ultra slogan: “less is more”. I would rather see a decline in graduates on the basis that all graduates are employable and meet the demands of the labour force.

    Yes, we look to these first world country for support and inspiration but we need to focus on OUR Country’s needs and cater to them. Some of these degrees (I am tempted to call names) are (O)BSOLETE, (U)SELESS and TANGENTIAL and shout be thrown OUT!

    SLB recipents who are still in debt are often the ones who could not get a job after graduation because of their inability to be employable and their useless degrees. Everyone is borrowing to go to college because they think it is the ‘in thing’ and everyone is a holder of a degree or two. Let’s be honest…it is perpetuated that CXCs are overrated so we need a first degree. Now most people have first degrees they are saying it is overrated so a masters ‘a d lick’ and blah blah blah…So WE find ourselves just studying because we dont want to be left behind. When in truth and in fact, we can create a niche for ourselves without chasing degrees that we sometimes dont even see the true purpose.

    I have no issue with higher education not being free or if it is free…either way…we can see development in Jamaica. For now, we need to stop brainwashing the high school students into thinking they must go to university. Instead, inspire them to think critically, help them to develop lifelong learning skills and nurture those soft skills that employers crave. Let them know that the entrepreneurship spirit is still a great spirit.
    The avalanche is coming but it must not reach our tropical island of Jamaica.

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    1. verinica5 says:

      Shanique 101 YOU GOT IT RIGHT it has been happening right under our nose Higher education has a place but there is a new thrust on acquiring the skills not offered in higher institutions.In the 2002/2003 financial year the HEART Trust/NTA got J$2.2bn on training programmes. While the government’s contribution to the UWI was J$1.6bn and UTECH received J$825(Transnational Report – Case Study: Jamaica (October 2003).Yet everyone is encouraged to attend higher education institutes even at the expense of acquiring debts with the real possibility of unemployment or even under employment

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  6. realchez says:

    Shanique101 I agree with most of what you are saying. However, based on our climate now would you tell your son he doesn’t have to go to university? Mine needs to. He loves animation, can he open his own business? He needs to go and be taught. It is more than just thinking critically and analytically…he needs to be educated in a structured environment which will assist and fan this fire of critical and analytical thinking he has to become the all he can be. UWI has several programmes I was not even aware of until I went to student services recently…programmes to assist students to get a job before and after graduation..to be certified..do we all benefit no…do we give up…no…our students need this certification in whatever field they choose. However our teachers/advisors/parents/students need to work together to ensure they make the right choices. For example I was told that because I wanted to be a lawyer or a journalist I should do Building Technology at school which turned out to be rubbish.

    We have to continue to find ways to meet the work demands but currently our need for employment is growing more and more with less jobs that are suited for us. Shanique101 I think quality and quanity goes together because If degrees are replacing subjects and a masters is the new first degree then I would surely encourage any one who can to get a valuable degree…

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    1. verinica5 says:

      YES Realchez most parents want their children to attend universities. But the reality is the they have to start planning how to pay for that cost I note….. your emphasis on developing critical thinking skills that was an original value added from higher education. But if that is the main reason one attend university it is costly. Probably the answer lies in having children developing this skill earlier. Do the mechanic need critical thinking skill to function effectively daily? what about the hair dresser?. These persons are sometimes making good income. It is about doing what you love and doing it well, passion. Not all needs higher education .Surely education philosophers have posited different that people have different ways of learning . Some people have more value added to their life with obtaining a skill and not developing the’ specialness’ that, Barnett (1997) claims comes from higher education

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      1. realchez says:

        That’s true VERINICA5 but remember to run a business you need some kind of business skills. While we have persons just leaving school and doing hairdressing and it works someone like e would want more especially it’s a field that is so competitive as is a lot of professions. If my child is leaving high school I want him to be able to more than manage. It’s not only about critical thinking though, I agree but it is important as it will help you in most situations don’t you think?
        I totally agree that it starts from early childhood though. We need to prepare our students’ with the armour of lifelong learning…some areas are saturated hence they have to have choices and know that if one thing doesn’t work then try something else…Its like Christianity… once you have the foundation more than likely you will go back because you have the foundation…we have choices but we need the foundation to access some…

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  7. One of the first things we learnt in this class is that graduating with a degree, even a first class honors isn’t enough unless we can leverage our different types of capitol. Certainly, with more and more persons having a degree students have to distinguish themselves from each other in order to stand out and be more marketable.

    A point of concern is that soon many students may not be able to obtain a tertiary education because of the increase in cost. If those of us who have a degree are already finding it difficult to gain employment, what will those who cannot afford to obtain any qualification face? Is there really any jobs out there for ‘unqualified’ persons?

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    1. verinica5 says:

      Franz from you writing what do you mean by not being able to obtain qualification? Let me remind you that many university lectures used to lecture initially with only a first degree. Today first class
      honours is becoming more common place, More people are even acquiring doctoral degrees at younger ages. It is a knowledge driven world. The bottom line is whether you talk about using social capital or other types of capital to make you more marketable, the value of a first degree has been seriously eroded. The student now has to be astute to study what is trending and do it very well . it also help if you can acquire it from top universities. Hence universities are trying to market themselves as “Harvard ” as where you obtain this degree from matters in getting your foot into doors. Yes Franz qualification is obtainable through for example Heart and also certification It get a Canadian work visa just like your university degree. Surely you have not missed the Jamaican government emphasis on Certification. Have you missed TVET with emphasis on skills.Skills are
      said to be vital for poverty reduction, economic recovery and sustainable development Consequently policy attention to technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is increasing worldwide. TVET comprises formal, non-formal and informal learning for the world of work.Acquiring skills from basic to advanced levels is the new thrust. An avalanche is coming …higher education has some adjusting to do and quickly if they want to remain competitive and viable in global market place

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      1. when I say not able to obtain qualification I mean not being able to afford a university education to obtain a degree. I think that should clarify what I was referring to above.

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  8. tanneice says:

    These days I am learning that quality is considered to be notoriously elusive, and is no easier even to describe and discuss, than deliver in practice’ (Gibson, 1986). The multi-dimensional considerations that assessing and valuing quality requires and from the perspective of the different stakeholders, makes pinning down its definition difficult. How are we defining ‘quality education’?

    The thing is, each one of us may look at a university education through different lenses and ascribe a value to it (including monetary value) as well as our perspective of whether higher education in Jamaica is ‘fitting its purpose’ (which is a definition for quality (Ball, 1988 & Woodhouse, 2012). We are asking : are we getting what we expected- be that from a business perspective (more income over expenses), be it the improvement in society & social conditions, or the job with better pay we envisioned, or the research output and recognition that attracts funding, whatever….

    If various the stakeholder that plays on this field sees a value to higher education, then it is reasonable to assume that all will be willing to invest in it…no?

    Usually supply chases after demands – are we demanding, and taking up the offers that globalization brings? If yes why? How much are we willing to pay – to get what we consider to be ‘quality’?

    The avalanche that is said to be coming I think is being ‘jerked or triggered’ into motion by our own demands and definition of quality education and how we value what we have here.

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    1. verinica5 says:

      The avalanche that is said to be coming I think is being ‘jerked or triggered’ into motion by our own demands and definition of quality education and how we value what we have here. That point is worthy of consideration. However the chase is on for quality. but are the students getting value, real value. We all know that the real value is most often measured in earning outcomes It is a materialistic world The time when learning was for learning sake is past.Trow (2000) argues less ares of studies in USA are required in the years of before specialty and that it is now so open that students have a wide range of subject areas from which to choose. Education is not it seem seen as tool for improving quality of life for all, to benefit all humanity generally. Less government funds are being given to research globally .and university have had to seek private assistance (OECD,2003) Government is demanding quality education outcomes but pulling back funding…. how come? , how come? from whence is the funds to come. How much control can government exert when higher education has to out source funds Recently the Jamaican government stepped in financially to allow final year students to write their exams. Education is viewed as a public good as as such access is a right not a privilege. When tuition goes up there is public out cry, why? A crisis is on the horizon an avalanche is coming if changes are not made

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  9. The topic poses the question ‘Higher Education Value for money or simply big business?’ It goes on to state that ‘…An Avalanche is coming.’
    Veronica your paper starts off by looking at a definition for education that is very good. In going through a distinction is made between training and education with the general position being take that while training is itself a part of the education process, it is not completely synonymous with education. A very simple example of this is a dog being trained to fetch sticks or a parrot being trained to ‘speak’. However this is done by repetition followed by immediate reward. This is described as learning by rote. As the focus of this technique is repetition of a specific activity, there is no ability to transfer or apply the knowledge gained in solving other problems. Education of the other hand involves imparting and inculcating such disciplines as critical thinking, analysis, logical reasoning and deduction etc and hence grants educated persons the ability to assimilate and synthesize information gained and tacit knowledge acquired, in taking apart new problems and to ultimately formulate solutions. I particularly likes Professor Mohanan (2010) declaration where he states that “An educated person, therefore, is one who has undergone a process of learning that results in enhanced mental capability to function effectively in familiar and novel situations in personal and intellectual life.”
    As the worldwide business environment evolves, new knowledge created, new research findings into how the human brain and mind operates and by extension how it learns, new techniques are being developed to keep pace. As a consequence new curricula are also being developed as well as new immersive learning environments. This included virtual learning environments as well as remote classrooms etc. These developments naturally come with much higher costs than traditional learning techniques. These additional costs even with some amount of government subsidies and private sector sponsorships will need to be passed on to students. What is also taking place, even in Jamaica, is for students to identify the roles that are available in the particular industries and to seek education in these areas. Not so long ago, our current Prime Minister when he was the Minister of Education spoke about this in one of his addresses. To add to this, in relatively recent times there have been many advertisements about new vitamin supplements to boost memory, brain power and generally genius capsules. These are said to increase ‘learning-ability’, cognitive skills and general retention of material and as the environment becomes more competitive these may become more attractive and by extension, more expensive. This is an industry that is now budding out of the education industry.
    In terms of the ‘avalanche’ that is spoken about, this has to do with the number of tertiary qualified students compared to the number of available jobs. This is already taking place in Jamaica in some areas of the Legal field. In terms of those who practice Criminal Law, there is I believe an over saturation. With a limited amount of seats available in the Norman Manley Law School each year, the number of students who complete the first three years of study at both the University of the West Indies or The University of Technology far outnumber the number of available seats. The documentation goes on to state that “by 2020, China alone will account for 29 percent of all the university graduates in the world aged 25–34., there will be as many Chinese graduates in that age group as in the entire US labour force. In addition to this, the prized first class honours degree is being devalued as the number of graduates gaining first class honours in the UK having more than doubled in the past decade.” In just four years, the number has increased by 45 per cent.

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    1. verinica5 says:

      The ‘avalanche’ that is spoken about, this has to do with the number of tertiary qualified students compared to the number of available jobs.That is a part of it all. But it is also a question of quality employers are saying standards have fallen. Government want to ensure quality while retracting funding. there is also an increasing appreciation of TVET in the market place , a growing appreciation foe skill set not necessarily learned in higher education institution. Higher education institution have to survive and thrive. How do they best survive. or thrive in this atmosphere where much is demanded while less is being given . There is an anomaly here.

      Downes (2013) wrote of the University of the West Indies – Pressing challenges:– Need to increase enrollment in light of the pressing demands in the local and external labour markets [ CARICOM’s target of 15% enrollment at tertiary level by 2005]. Rapid increase in enrollment at Cave Hill and St Augustine from 2002 –Existence of a possible “cost disease” with its high skill labour intensive costs rising over time and also the varying costs of provision from humanities ( low) to medicine and engineering (high) There are the issues of access , equity, effectiveness and efficiency. High skill need against cost disease Access to tertiary education at reasonable cost to meet mid and high level skill needs
      Note Pat Downes (2013) speaks of possible ‘ cost disease’ amidst the challenges. How do higher education survive in the traditional state. An avalanche is coming

      Independent universities and colleges in the USA has arrived at what is called an interdisciplinary approach to survive and thrive in 21st century. “Interdisciplinary” or interchangeably, to describe research processes, organizational structures, areas of inquiry, new kinds of knowledge or emerging academic fields, and pedagogic approaches that focus on synthesis and integration (Repko 2012, 22–25; Newell 2007 as cited in the CIC Project on the Future of Independent Higher Education MAY 2015

      The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Liberal Education and America’s Promise (LEAP) initiative incorporates the related concept of “integrative learning,” defined as “synthesis and advanced accomplishment across general and specialized skills” and demonstrated by applying “knowledge, skills, and responsibilities to new settings and complex problems” (Flaherty 2015) Has the independent universities and colleges found the answer.

      Has Havard found the answer it is said ‘Harvard’s great strength, which can be the strength of every university, is a pattern of innovation that is continuous and focused on the university’s unique mission—without undue concern for either tradition or what other institutions are doing’ (.Christensen & Eyring 2011). Is this the answer is it as simple as being innovative and focusing on the university’s mission.No it is more complex I submit but answers has to be found and fast or an avalanche is coming…..

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  10. What better way to put it than expressed by Shenzhem – with the rise of globalisation and the impact it has on higher education, and its implications. Indeed, higher education institutions will be affected if proper strategic measures or frameworks are not implemented to preserve the future of tertiary education. The question asked by Veronica whether or not higher education is providing quality education or the vision is now shifted to simply a business. In Jamaica, this is major concern about the future of universities – because of the stringent measures now placed on students especially those in final year who are unable to pay school fees and are barred from doing their exams.

    More recently, the Ministry of Education had provided $9 million in grants to some final year students of the Mona Campus UWI, who were barred from sitting final year examinations due to outstanding fees owed to the university. What can be done in order to address this situation? Should the universities continue to lose profits and provide opportunity for students to finish their higher education and graduate unhindered, or should there be some measures that are workable to have a win-win situation?

    I believe the onus is on all stakeholders mentioned in Veronica’s conclusion are significant to this process of expanding and developing tertiary education by making it a growth promoting environment for its learners. I am aware that bills must be paid and requests are made for other infrastructures that will provide greater learning opportunities for students. Therefore, I implore students to go the extra mile by offsetting their tuition fees, but what about those who have gone the extra mile and still to no avail, should they be barred from accomplishing their educational goal?

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