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Quality Education in Pvt Universities

Maximize benefit of demographic dividend through quality education

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16th-Nov-2016       
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Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary
Vice-Chairman (BOT), Dhaka International University  :
Bangladesh is now enjoying an extraordinary demographic dividend with 47.6 million youths (age 10-24yr) as opposed to 26.6 million in 1981. It is expected that population will be stabilized in 200 million by 2020 and we will start losing our youth demographic dividend with a reasonable apprehension that by 2050 youth percentage may reduce by 10%. Therefore it would not be exaggerated to say that Bangladesh is now in its peak demographic beneficial position. Therefore, it is high time to invest in youth human capital to maximise the benefit of such large demographic dividend.
The fastest and best available option is to promote education. Commenting on the huge potential of Bangladesh with her youth, one UNFPA representative Argentina Matavel opined, "If they are equipped with necessary skills, good health and effective choices, they can present an enormous opportunity to transform the future".
Now can the educational institution and universities fulfill the aspirations of the youth? Can the state mechanism on education be able to accommodate this youngsters. It takes 50 years to form a traditional university and then it can only accommodate 10000 students. No doubt higher education is currently facing disruption it needs a break through. As the great Indian entrepreneur said, "Education is a sector that is brimming with opportunities, waiting to be tapped with an innovative approach". Now the biggest disruption has already been caused with massive open online Courses (MOOCS).
Sebastian Thrun and Peter Norvig introduced an online course namely "Introduction to Artificial Intelligence (2011)". 160000 students registered. Being enchanted Thrun resigned from Stanford and established Audacity, a MOOC provider. Harvard and MIT also started MOOC and founded Edx. No doubt, 2012 was the year for MOOC and US media consider MOOC as a tsunami for traditional brick-and-mortar institution as financiers started giving more concentration on MOOC providers.
 The unusual hype for MOOC is evident from the fact that by 2012, more than 1.5 million people registered through Coursera, Udacity and Edx. But by 2013, it exceeded 9 million. Even Google formed a consortium with MOOC provider Edx September, 2013. The USA educationalist Phil Mill (2012) apprehended a "Bumpy ride" ahead for traditional universities. But by the end of 2016, it would not be exaggerated to comment that MOOC hopelessly failed as because less than 10% registered MOOC student were able to complete their degrees. This is because MOOC and its registered student are associated with some disadvantage e.g. lecture fatigue, shopping around, chaotic learning environment, perceived incompatibility and mostly in MOOC, it is trajectory difficult for instructor to control diverging information.
The failure of MOOC is rightly pointed by Robert Zemsky (2014) as "They came, they conquered very little, and now they face substantially diminished prospect." Even the president of MOOC provider Udemy, Dennis yang said "MOOCs are in the hype cycle with expectation undergoing a wild swing." Michael shea consider MOOC as a kind of scam which produce worthless certificates. The Obama administration also emphasized on Competency Based Education (CBE) or Outcome Based Education which primarily triggered at trimming college cost and the around of time (Fain 2012), Marguerite J Dennis (2014). It starts with a desired outcomes and leads students toward such outcome. It's targeted initially for 37 million American who have credit hours but no degree.
As Obama administration believed 'you can start where you left.' CBE or OBE is a Disruption for traditional credit concept based on credit/ class hour and assessment. In CBE, student learnt in his/her place and degree or grade will be given on demonstrating certain level of skill and knowledge through assessment. It revolutionized the credit hour concept coined by president of Harvard, Chapels Eliot (1893).
CBL saves time and money, creates multiple pathways, allows for online and blended learning and it envisages better use of technology. That's why ARNA Duncan, the USA secretary of Education instructed "I want them  (CBE, OBE) to be the norm".  Educationalists like Ochoa (2012), Jamie P Marists firmly supported CBE, OBE but it is still in a cent stage and yet to fulfill it aspiration. Another Disruption is propounded by Tony Dyson through "Avatar supported learning in virtual university."
Tony developed SOT 2000 technology where students enter into virtual 3D universities having their own second life character. They can walk and interact with a human like virtual guide. Though this avatar concept has some inherent advantages of flammability as well as repeated willing and multiple language translators. But Dyson himself said, human mind is a too broad spectrums that are giving always logical answer to difficult question which is always remain a major challenges. Stefik (2006) doubted whether avatar supported virtual university is possible or whether it is needed. No model showed their efficacy, neither they are now brimming adequate opportunity. That is why, I consider for a blended /hybrid system of education mined with online -offline learning.
Some also it as flipped class room model. The flipped classroom model involves courses that move the traditional lecture beyond content dissemination, away from face to face hours and through online delivery outside of class hours. The failures of MOOC can be effectively supplemented by blended learning.
Even MOOC provider commented, "We do not recommend selecting an online study experience over a blended learning experience. It's theme is to make face to face class time more effective by providing students video lecture which they may watch before the class to be prepared for classroom and with a bunch of prepared students, the tutor can dedicate lecture time for analysis and practice. Even the traditional university can have much flipped classroom, and through this system, all students may get the chance to view the lectures from all famous tutors.
With the failure of online education and incapacity of traditional brick-and-mortal institution to accommodate youngsters no doubt "flipped classroom or blended learning, is the only golden mean approach that is left over. For example Khan Academy uploaded more than 3400 video lecturers free.
Time has come in Bangladesh to list discipline wise experts and upload their videos and make them available to reduce cost of quality education as well as creating options for higher education. No doubt higher education is now crying for disruption, it's brimming for innovation but we are lacking too long to get back from traditionalism.

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