After attending the Harvard African Business conference and participating in several conversations around the future of education in Africa, I’ve realized that a change in the education model is not exclusive to catch up economies, but a new model to survive in a more global and ever-shifting economy. Here are some reasons why the current education model is in the process of being disrupted:
- Technology has made the decimation of information easier and cheaper than ever. There are so many courses and learning resources available online. We’ve known for a while that a lot of learning goes on outside of the classroom but now we don’t need a classroom at all to deliver course content.
- Speed- Everyone probably feels like this at the point of their existence but the speed and rate of change on what we learn in the undergraduate level is changing at very fast pace. A computer science major will enter a program learning one coding language and by the time they finish, that language will be obsolete. (My education friends argue that the purpose of an undergraduate education is to teach a person how to think, thus making it easier to pick up new skills in the future. If we go by this, the main purpose of an undergraduate degree is to improve learning ability and is less about skills acquisition. I’d still argue that we need to find cheaper ways, both from a time and cost perspective, to learn how to learn.
- Learning at scale. Our current education system (globally) is not structured to support the amount of people we need to educate in the next 20 years. Our population is growing at a greater rate than growth of our education institutions. In order to reach more students effectively, we will need to reconsider education content delivery and think of it more as media content.
All of this points to one truth, education has to get faster. We need to educate people at a faster pace, be more effective and do it quicker. The world is moving faster and education is slowly picking up speed to adapt.