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Education today and tomorrow. The force to restructure and change the educational system. Is Covid-19 the final activity to get it moving?

The industry and corporations have continuously trimmed their organizations to cope with costs, adapting to new technology that changed the working conditions and working environment but also how companies are organized. The market is becoming more global and mobile. People move to where the jobs are but also where they can live and the cost of living is lower. Today businesses are possible to perform remotely, even from other countries. We can utilize mobile phones, computers, videoconferencing and much more.

The COVID-19 virus has also forced people to stay at home and work from home. The experience is so good that many companies like Shopify, Facebook and Google will have the majority of their staff working from home.

It does not make sense to pay high rent to live close to the HQ of companies like in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto or Vancouver and spend hours travelling every day. For that, the companies have to compensate with higher salaries.

Our manufacturing industry has automated, cut costs and increased production, many running the production 24 hours a day. The result is a more lean production, spreading the overhead costs over a larger number of hours. When the COVID-19 hit them many of them adapted to the new reality. Automakers changed to the production of protective equipment and ventilators. Beer and Gin manufacturers started the production of sanitizers. The drug companies put the research and development in high gear to develop vaccines and medicine to slow down the virus. The market conditions have changed and the companies had to adapt.

The educational system however has not adapted to the changes and trimmed the costs. The cost of education has increased tremendously while costs compared with income gone down for computers, cars and much more. The buildings and equipment at the schools are idling a large part of the year. 

The education has to mirror and prepare the students for the new environment. The buildings and resources have to be utilized in a better way. A classroom today is not that much different from that of 20-30 years ago except for the use of computers and PowerPoint presentations instead of flipcharts and OH. The Pandemic has changed that. The schools got caught with their pants down. We cannot teach as before and the schools are to prepare the students for their jobs when finishing school. The education has to mirror how the students will work, i. e. how to use all the modern tools, and to work remotely and have self-discipline with meetings on the net. The students have to learn and be prepared for real life. The experience has to be gained already at school making them ready for the new world of working life. Do real projects connected to the industry where they will work in the future, including remote performance. The pressure on teachers will increase and the competition for the best ones will increase and also their salaries. Those who do not want to adapt will lose their teaching jobs.

Education is a large investment like other investments it has to pay back, preparing the students for the changing world. We cannot only teach the students theories and academics. They have to be able to practice so they “know” when starting a job after education. The new technology should also be included and practiced at school. The students have to “sell” their skills to their employers to get the right job

So what will that mean in practicality? More and more education will happen remotely. Only a small part of the teaching will happen physically at colleges and universities and closing for summer will be eliminated. That means that more educational material has to be produced for this type of learning. It will open new opportunities, but will also create stiffer competition. Large corporations like Google, Apple, and Facebook will see opportunities, so also consulting/software companies like Microsoft, SAP and Salesforce. All making joint venture or licensing agreements with the schools to develop programs that can be used at a large number of teaching facilities on a global basis. Material that continuously has to be updated because of a changing market.

Each college/university cannot afford to develop their courses and course material. It is a large investment and the large tech companies can not only do it but will see huge market potential. In fact, by developing those courses the market is global and so will also the teaching become. Foreign students can take a large part of the courses at home with support from Universities overseas.  Universities will form joint ventures allowing more global education

With this change, the colleges/universities can double the number of courses/students they offer. I.e. the overhead costs can be spread on a larger number of paying students.

The winners.

The students will have more access to schools and courses, hopefully at a lower cost, especially not having to stay at the campus all the time

The “high image” schools can now double the number of students. (Not dependent on the facilities at the schools.)

The losers.

The “low end” schools that cannot compete anymore. Some will go out of business. The High- end schools will absorb more students leaving less for the “low end.”

Sweden decided at the beginning of the 90s to open up the educational system to free competition. It created a competition that made some schools and teachers more attractive and offered a better education. Teachers and schools that could not compete had to close the shop.

The market is continuously changing. Markets and industries that were blossoming years ago are gone and so are the jobs too. The textile industry disappeared in the industrial countries and on-line sales have hit the retail industry hard. You do not have your secretary working for you anymore and if, it is transformed into an executive assistant with a much higher level of skill.

The “educational industry” has to drastically change

The business will not be as usual. Schools are scrambling to find solutions now. The ones that are fast and can attract students with a professional teaching package at a competitive price will be the winners. The ones that think they can teach as usual will be the losers.

Read also article. Is this the time to change the way we teach international business?

Leif Holmvall, President Export Pro Inc.

Leif Holmvall, President
Export Pro Inc.

In our book “Export & Import – Winning in the Global Marketplace”
ISBN 978-0-9681148-1-0 those topics are covered in depth. You can also buy our book for less than $10 as an e-book visit e.g., where you can read part of the book.

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