SINGAPORE — Long before Covidd-19 made online education a necessity as people around the world tried to minimize in-person interaction, platforms offering open access online courses over the internet, or Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC), like them are mentioned, these were already booming.
As a matter of fact, The New York Times declared a decade ago that 2012 should be “The Year of the MOOC”. In 2019, just before Covid-19 hit the world, Some researchers predict that the size of the global online education market will reach US$350 billion (S$476 billion) by 2025.
The pandemic of the last two years has brought the industry into high gear and researchers have resorted to calculators – The latest figures show that the sector grew to $309 billion last year and is expected to be worth a staggering $1.37 trillion by the end of 2028.
MOOCs GI have Users have access to lessons on a wide range of topics, from theology to data science, from various universities, including high-ranking ones like Harvard and Stanford – everything at the push of a button.
The rise of MOOCs, particularly over the past two years, and the disruption caused by Covid-19 — for both the higher education sector and the wider society — have again raised the question of whether traditional universities, including those in Singapore, are doing enough to adapt to the changing face of higher education. Can they continue to meet the needs of citizens to equip them with the skills to thrive in an increasingly complex and ever-changing environment, where current issues typically span multiple domains and require systems thinking?
After all, does it still make sense to spend three to four years and at least tens of thousands of euros on a degree? – especially when the speed of change in almost all industries is so great that employees have to constantly update their knowledge and skills in order not to become obsolete?
At the same time, according to a 2019 Harvard Business Review report, recent research has shown a weak correlation between educational attainment and job performance. Employers are beginning to recognize this big companies like Google, Apple, Penguin Random House and Ernst & Young UK no longer list a degree as a requirement for a position with them.
A further complication for the universities is the fact that Even companies themselves – Google is a well-known example – run courses that, upon completion, give people the certification they need to get a job at the same company.
Le Wagon is a programming school with 45 campuses around the world including Singapore. Its General Manager for Asia Pacific Dirk Schuler pointed out that the raffle for short-term courses is associated with lower costs and less time.
“Not only are our courses faster and cheaper, but they also teach exactly what the market is looking for compared to an often outdated curriculum at universities… Taking two months vacation or even studying part-time alongside the job is in comparison In addition, almost no risk to a multi-year classic course,” he said.
Young adults around the world are beginning to question the value of a degree. 2018, In India, over 800 engineering colleges across the country have been closed due to lack of demand.
In the United States, a report released in January this year by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found this student enrollment by doing country HaD been on a downtrend. This has been attributed factors like declining birth rates, widespread immediate job availability and growing skepticism about the need for higher education, according to a Washington Post report.
At home, Education Minister Chan Chun Sing reiterated this in a speech last month Universities in Singapore need to evolve to keep up with the demands of business.
“Our universities can be more deeply integrated into our broader industrial, business and social ecosystem,” he said at The Straits Times Education Forum. This will help universities better understand the challenges of our community, industry and the world so that we can apply our knowledge, ideas and skills to create better solutions for Singapore and the world.”
The issue also came up again during the budget and utility committee debates earlier this month.
Referring to the need to promote lifelong learning, West Coast GRC MP (MP) Ang Wei Neng proposed what he called a “radical idea” of time-stamping degrees awarded by Singapore’s Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs). Graduates would need to take courses every five years to improve themselves, and if they didn’t, their degrees would lapse, he suggested.
The idea was thoroughly put on the table, and Mr Ang later took to Facebook to clarify that his intention was to “emphasise the need for Singaporeans to keep educating themselves to stay relevant in the modern economy” and “a Stimulate conversation about what role universities can play in this”.
During the debate on Department of Education spending earlier this week Members of Parliament (MPs) Denise Phua and Patrick Tay also spoke about it the future trends of education and emphasizes the further development of universities.
In response, Mr. Chan outlined three driving forces shaping Singapore’s education system:Ccompressed technology and economy Cycles, an increasingly polarized and fragmented world and a changing social fabric.
In contrast to some countries that are facing declining university enrollments, the number of adult learners trained by Singapore’s IHLs has more than doubled from around 165,000 in 2018 to 345,000 in 2020. And the number is expected to keep rising, Mr Chan said.
Still, he added, IHLs need to review their programs to target different learners. Citing the efforts of some universities here, Mr Chan stressed the need to use technology to “make learning accessible and attainable” by creating bite-sized learning on the go to build on the skills that adult learners already have as a foundation.
He also said that a “stronger link” between IHL and industry is needed. “The transformation of industry and the workforce must go hand in hand,” he added. IHL must do this by working with industry to provide more learning opportunities in the workplace, ensuring faculty members in IHL remain “industry relevant,” and collaborating with industry on research and innovation projects.