by Aleksandar Videv
The world will not be the same after this crisis, we will not be the same after this crisis, and higher education institutions and higher education systems will not be the same after this crisis. In the post-crisis situation, new expectations will be put on higher education institutions in terms of the links in the communities, in terms of teaching, in terms of international strategies and mobility, etc. and in terms of values themselves.
The Universities absolutely depend (Phil Baty speaking) on international mobility, the flow of talent around the world and obviously this crisis puts a huge question mark over the future of that mobility, not just in the immediate term, but also the longer term. Fall out of how it effects and changes international education. UK is talking about a possible 2.6-billion-pound hole in the finances this year primarily driven by the loss of international students. Australia is talking about similar numbers; we don’t yet know whether universities will even start their academic terms in September/October this year (2020). We don’t know the longer term; I think we can’t be really clear and say that global higher education will change profoundly and I do think it will change forever.
The economic fall out of this crisis. The drop in global productivity and, you know, threats of the world economy I think will challenge the actual-literally the number of people who have the means and the hunger and the desire to actually invest in an international education. So, I think there’s a big question around the growth stopping. I think that also leads to major questions around the destination, traditionally we’ve seen students primarily from the East moving West for their education and I think the balance there will shift, there might be more East-East mobility and talent flow driven by perceptions of safety, driven by perceptions of how welcoming a country is.
The Australian prime minister saying “Hey international students, go home”. You know Donald Trump, of course, with his nationalist rhetoric sending out quite negative messages. And I think finally, probably the biggest one is a big shift towards intense competition between universities and very much a buyers’ market power. It moves into the hands of those students who have the means and the ability to travel, because I think universities are pretty desperate for them to come, desperate for their fees. They are dependent on those fees for their financial health, even their financial survival. I think it really puts huge consumer power in the hands of the students, which I think are good news for the student- he could put pressure on tuition fees, brand alone might not cut it anymore.
I think a lot of universities are “knee-jerking” and going straight into “Zoom” lectures and that’s not what online and remote learning is all about. There are some fantastic innovations and wonderful tools out there for great online learning. I think this is where the battleground will be played, and as we are all forced to engage in this massive experiment of going online. Some universities will be exposed, I think some university brands will be challenged by how responsive they are and how they retain quality, some universities, perhaps are depending on the physical environment of a campus and the social capital of mingling in a group of peers so that will be challenged. But I think fundamentally it will be about the actual pressure of the models themselves is that traditional four-year or three-year residential still the ultimate price.
Great brands doing a poor job will potentially threatened by less well-known institutions doing a great job harnessing the technology.
It would be profoundly upsetting and very sad for the global society if we did see international sharing, international collaboration, international talent flows ending… Ive seen some really upsetting rise of nationalist sentiments even before the Coronavirus, post Coronavirus, you know, we shutting borders. So, if the longer-term effect was less international sharing, less international collaboration, less international solidarity, I think that would be very worrying, not just for universities that are depend on this thriving multicultural community of free thinkers, but obviously worse for society as well. So, for me that would be the biggest worry, but I believe passionately that it won’t come to pass.
The best hope is that we understand more profoundly the value of our universities and the hunger for collaborating and sharing across borders is extraordinary well illustrated by this crisis. It’s been, perhaps, one of the biggest ever collaborations in the race to find the tests and the vaccine. I think this will hopefully last to society to reflect on the huge social and economic impact universities have, they’ll be helping to solve these problems, they’ll be leading the fight against the Corona virus and I think universities will enhance their role in society and will be seen to connect better with their communities which is very positive outcome.
This was an interview with Phil Baty, Chief knowledge officer of Times Higher Education. His concerns are absolutely justified, because the universities are facing enormous losses and with restriction on mobility, international students are not able to pay their taxes, which universities depend on “to survive” as he says. The facilities of higher education are of utmost importance to us, and we have the understand better their value, and to hope that the outcome of this will be positive.
MVS Pharma GmbH is an innovative pharmaceutical start-up company, which researches in the area of reducing viruses and bacteria with plant based aerosols. Their special formula ensures the purity and the stability of the used ingredients during storage.
Aleksandar Videv is an article writer, who explores the scientific and fictional ideas about future with/or after Covid-19…. and the possibilities for producing aerosols made out of plants against respiratory viruses and bacteria.
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