17th June 2011
80 per cent of the world’s lecturers are not needed any longer
The world of education is due for an intensive overhaul. The current model where low quality lecturers individually tutor small groups of students is due for a total revamp.
With the coming of high speed internet, all we need is ONE good lecturer in economics in the entire world, ONE good lecturer in science, and so on. And we are done. All others can be asked do something more productive with their time. (Of course, that is a simplification; maybe we need two lecturers each, not just one.)
That one lecturer's lectures can be posted on youtube (or somewhere) and listened to by students throughout the world. They then don't need to attend mediocre lectures.
All that is needed, after that, is lower quality (and therefore lower paid) tutors who will grade students' assignments. That way one lecturer could teach 2 million students, assisted by 10,000 tutors, instead of having 10,000 lecturers.
We will still need high end professors to teach and supervise doctoral students, and school teachers to teach school kids (who need to be personally supervised).
But a middle layer – of ordinary lecturers (perhaps 80% of them) – can now be given the pink slip.
Consider the Khan Academy. There is no reason why it can't provide college level education as well, thus replacing most lecturers across the world.
Lecture notes can be placed online as well (already happening at MIT).
The world must become more productive. Old models are no longer relevant.