A university is meant to be a community of “teachers and scholars”, a community thriving in the sharing and accumulation of knowledge, undeterred by the prying influences of whimsical institutions. Over time, this definition has diluted and the tenor of what a university was meant to be has become a low bass crooning in the background, what we see at most universities today.
Last week we mentioned how a skills mismatch is being driven by universities that have little to no incentive to change, driven by an imprudent vision and an outdated pedagogy. In our introductory blog, we discussed whether universities today are the apotheosis of exploration and dissemination of knowledge or if it was just ostentation.
Rebuilding universities sounds like a fanatical notion, but let us break down the reasons why we believe so. Structurally, universities are flawed. There is a divide between the tenured and non-tenured academic staff, a divide between academic and administrative staff, and the administrative bloat, driven by increased spending on things that do not pertain to the better education of a student but has been consistently driving tuition fees up over the past few decades (makes little sense now, when for almost two years we've been attending a "Zoom University").
Over a series of Twitter posts over the past week, we shed light on some of the structural inefficiencies and propose how Eduweave offers an alternate proposal to tackle these inefficiencies that plague universities today:
- Instead of having a guaranteed tenure, which could possibly dissuade tenured academic staff from being the best possible educator that they can be, why not create a marketplace for educators to compete for students. Such a system would work better in the long tail of higher learning institutions where the primary focus is teaching and helping students gain access to learning opportunities. The best educators would not find it difficult to substantially increase their income by 2 to 3 times while keeping costs for learners very reasonable. Such a structure would also incentivise educators to continuously work on their teaching. These ideas are very similar to those propagated by Adam Smith long ago, the father of economics through his revolutionary book "The Wealth of Nations" published in 1776. The reason Eduweave is able to do this is that we use software to scale and not severely under-utilised physical structures. We are not bogged down by unnecessary administrative overheads and can keep our margins high to redistribute them back to the educators.
- Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, researchers have stated that corporate funding affects 35 percent of their research choices, up from 14 percent in 1985. University administrators frown upon research that cannot allure media attention and corporate money. The shift to a profit emphasis in universities has led to a slump in instructional quality, with a focus on rather complaisant topics. This circles back to the idea of a mismatch of skills and how there is no incentive for Universities to change their model of education - if there's no money in it, what's the point? Or at least the administrators of the Universities think that. The worst part - the instructors never earn a fair share of the profits. Universities appear to be scrounging their instructors, researchers, and students for their share of the pie. Eduweave allows instructors to teach independently of any institutional or organisational influence - giving full autonomy back to the educator, democratising education. (https://twitter.com/Eduweave_/status/1485928732292677633?s=20&t=rsoBgFjX_fJj_hMwF-dgmA)
- With the introduction of revolutionary remote technology, it is rather surprising to see how acceptance rates to some of the most "respected" universities are still the same or even lower. It begs the question as to what the ethos of a university is - Do these institutions still believe that their primary mission is to be knowledge dissemination centres, or is there a different motivation for their existence today? (https://twitter.com/Eduweave_/status/1486291167990128640?s=20&t=rsoBgFjX_fJj_hMwF-dgmA)
When conceptualising Eduweave, we wanted to bring back focus on the two most important stakeholders in the process of learning - educators and learners. Educators must have a space free from any influences of entities with motivation, to decide what to teach and how to teach, while having full ownership of their students, allowing them to create a thriving learning community. We are not restricted by investments in redundant physical structures but have created an abstract structure to better house education in today's knowledge economy. Additionally, we leverage software aligned towards the benefit of educators to scale, allowing educators to have an incentive to continuously improve their mode of teaching as they compete within the marketplace for students.
We want to enable expert educators to fill in the gaps that exist between academia, industry and the common public to create the necessary conditions to inspire and educate more people to build the future.
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