Written by Samuel Edney: Student Writer
Education is a fundamental part of the building blocks of our society. So what would university, and the experience it brings, be like in the year 2050? A long way away, I know, but with the rate of technological advances being made at a faster rate than ever before, and with tuition fees on the rise again, will higher education be similar to what it is today?Or completely different?
IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING, OF COURSE, THIS IS JUST SPECULATION. GUESSWORK. BUT, LOOKING AROUND AT WHAT WE HAVE TODAY, IT’S FUN TO WONDER!
You’ve probably heard by now that there was, not too long ago, absolute uproar, not just within the student community, concerning the government’s decision to start raising tuition fees. Putting aside the fact that they did this in a rather sneaky manner, this now means that, in order to get a degree in their chosen field, students going to university from this point on will have to dive further in to the abyss that is student debt than ever before. But with a hung parliament leaving our country uncertain as to what kind of government we’re actually going to have running the show, and with Labour having a policy to scrap student loans, does this mean that, going into the future, we are going to see a more relaxed approach to paying thousands upon thousands for higher education? If so, this could shift the very purpose of university back to what it used to be; an experience not built by how much you pay for it, but fuelled by new ideas, and the determination to learn something new.
The technological landscape of the 21st century is a constantly changing one. Even today, in some instances, lectures and assignments can be attended and completed over email or Skype, meaning that for some students, you don’t even have to turn up to a timetabled array of early morning lectures.
Although, in comparison to the majority of courses, this style is few and far between, does this signal a shift in how courses and assignments are structured and delivered? Will this affect the traditional organisational structure of university courses, i.e: no more semesters? If this was to become the case, the implications of how students can tailor their course to their specific interests and needs will be far more wide reaching and accommodating, making university a much more personal experience.
Tuition fees and organisational structure of semesters is important, yes. But we can’t talk about the technological landscape of the future, without touching on the implication that, yes, robots may take over. I’m not talking apocalyptic level take over, obviously, but i’d be extremely surprised if artificial intelligence and/or robotics does not play a large role in how courses, student assistance and maybe even the social aspects of university life is delivered; A.I tutors and services, robot ‘study buddies’, and maybe even an extremely efficient bartender at the local student bar? Who knows?
Questions aside, the university experience can only be as efficient and enjoyable as we allow it to be. Between now and the year 2050, we will witness new ideas of how higher education is presented to prospective students. Although all of this is a very long time away, the actions we take today in trying to craft a better education system will be the cornerstone for how future generations will continue to strive for greater knowledge.
Follow Samuel at @SamEdney1