The Top Issues Facing Higher Education in 2014

 

With all the rapid changes spurred on by innovation in higher education, many issues have risen. This year the top issues facing higher education will include the following:

1. Cost

The cost of education will continue to be a concern raiser in 2014. With the cut in government spending and the loom of the world’s past economic events, tuition fees will remain expensive.  Parents will have to look to alternative ways to invest in their children’s further education.

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2. Workforce development

Hiring and training a well skilled workforce is becoming an increasingly important focus point of institutions. Employers are once again hiring but they are still having difficulty finding applicants with needed skills. With rapid changes in technology staff must be skilled.

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3. Competency – based education

Competency-based education (CBE) is receiving increased attention from the media as more schools take on the different curriculum.   The challenge in competency-based education lies with the fact that it is uncertain how this can be measured. Such programs are focused on the assessment of one’s ability to apply learning already acquired rather than the attainment of new learning.

4. Accreditation

However, before any meaningful reform can be undertaken, there needs to be agreement as to whether the present system is “too difficult” or “too lax” and whether the desired end state is a regulatory enforcement body or one of quality assurance.

5. Assessment

Assessment has become a major concern for higher education. Increasingly, regulators and accreditors are moving away from input models and instead are asking, “What is the country receiving in return for the billions being spent on higher education and how do we know if it is effective?” Learning outcome-assessment has become the basis for determining institutional effectiveness. However, the availability of valid, widely accepted tools and methods needed to determine learning and skill acquisition are proving hard to come by.

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6. Quality assurance

With the increasing trend in MOOCs and non-institutional based learning the issue of quality assurance comes to surface. The question is whether these new forms of learning are equivalent to learning within more traditional academic institutions.

The consensus exists that greater transparency in the process for determining the credit worthiness of learning institutions outside the academy is needed. Traditional and non-traditional institutions want assurance of quality but no two assessors are using the same yardstick.

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7. The economy

The economy has repaired and this means that employment is once again rising. While this is commonly considered good news, it also gives fuel to those who maintain that a college education isn’t necessary to employment.

People are more frequently evaluating the cost of the investing in a degree at today’s prices versus entering the workforce straight after school and obtaining valuable real life work experience. Student recruiting is likely to become more difficult as a result of improved economic activity.

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It is important for educational institutions to be aware of the challenges that will have an influence on their operations and to form strategies to cope with these challenges. For more news on education and its support, follow our blog or visit our website.

 

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