The convergence of the following is worth considering:
- Higher education is becoming more costly.
- The time to financial return on a 3 year degree is going to be at least half a decade or much more from starting the course.
- In the knowledge economy, learning becoming more of a daily tablet than a once in a lifetime inoculation.
- In many industries there is an increasing shortfall in talent.
In essence the employers are struggling to get what they need. Similarly the talent is paying a premium to gain skills that may not be appropriate for when they enter the job market.
The higher education model, which is often poorly aligned with the needs of anybody beyond their research activities, may find itself in a situation where it falls out of the education value chain in respect of the needs of employers and prospective employees.
University as a growing up 'rite of passage' looks likely to become a quaint memory.
Academic institutions need to decide what business they are in and tune their model to meet the needs of the market. Smart universities will embrace the apprenticeship model and perhaps start offering 'applied' degrees that cover working practice as well as academic theory.
And to do so in a manner that is financially compelling.