6 Things That Need To Be Done To Make Education More Accessible

May 10, 2018 by

Unfortunately, access to quality higher education is not just based on merit. Wealth still plays an important role, as does geographic location and cultural/socio-economic background.

Of course, not everyone wants to go through university or other educational routes, even if they have the aptitude.

But, for those that do, there are several things that could be done to make education more accessible …

1) Shorten Degree Programs

Some people are put off starting a degree program because of how long it takes (usually 3 to 4 years for a Bachelor’s). This can be especially off-putting for older students returning to education who want to be into their career as soon as possible and driven younger students who just want to get on with it and aren’t too enamored by ‘university life.’

While the current length is designed to ease young people along and give then a broad learning experience, there’s no doubt that some people could succeed in a more condensed program (as is being trialed in the UK).

This would also lower the costs and loans associated with longer programs—cost being one of the primary roadblocks to higher education in the first place.

2) Cater to Different Schedules

Just as there are those who would benefit from a shorter degree program, there are also those that have hectic lives and existing responsibilities that could benefit from a more flexible part-time schedule.

Furthermore, the idea that everyone can start school in August or September for a full-time course just doesn’t reflect reality. Multiple start dates throughout the year could open-up education to a lot more people who couldn’t decide on the future in time for the regular start date or who leave other paths later in the traditional school year

3) Embrace Online

For students who attend university, it is an obvious fact that the internet and technology is not being used to its fullest potential. Why go to a lecture if it can be streamed online? In fact, why pay to study at a campus at all, if all learning materials can be delivered digitally and educators can be reached online?

The obvious thing stopping institutions fully-embracing the internet is that profit will be lost along the way, but there’s no denying it would improve accessibility—especially for students who cannot attend a campus because they live overseas or suffer from a disability.

4) More Employer Collaboration

One reason some people don’t pursue higher education is that there’s no clear path to employment in their desired field and the common (but not entirely untrue) cliché that you can get a degree and still end up working at Walmart.

It may be time for educators and employers to form a closer relationship for the betterment of the economy. What do employers want from graduates and what do students want from education?

At the moment things are a bit too skewed towards academia and not meaningful post-degree employment.

5) Pay Per Lecture Model

Not everyone wants a formal academic qualification but may be interested in some areas that are being taught. Why close lectures off to the public, when you could charge a standard fee to sit-in?

If places of learning embraced other points made in this article that would cost them profit, then this approach could make up for it.

Some people just like to learn for learning sake.

6) Make it Easier to Transfer Credit

Millions of people in the US have some form of credit from college, but nothing to show for it. They may have attended for a year and dropped out or an infinite number of other scenarios, and it’s far more difficult than it should be to pick things back up again.

There is also an argument to be made for non-traditional entry. Is somebody who has had some life experience, entered a career at the bottom rung and worked their way up to a mid-level, less likely to succeed at university than a brand-new kid with all the right educational background?

Eligibility criteria could be much broader.

Ultimately, for the education system to thrive in the modern world and continue attracting students, it’s going to need to be as accessible as possible.

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