Contemporary educational patterns continue to deteriorate, despite changes that have been adopted by most governments. While education is a key sector in the growth of the economy and society, there are many reasons why most education systems need to be reoriented. In particular, the standard and knowledge of education and the students’ success poses a number of concerns and many cases of incompetence. However, when sufficient steps are taken, certain cases may also be prevented and remedied. This paper highlights some of the problems concerning the education sector moving into a for-profit direction, and a proposition is given to counter such problem.
One of the major problems facing the education system is that learning institutions have become investment conglomerates aiming at maximizing profits regardless of the quality of service they offer. While this is not the case for all institutions, most of them have taken this direction. Perhaps, the educational sector has proven to be a lucrative industry for investors. One would argue that governments have tried their best to streamline the systems through policy. On the contrary, the concept of rent seeking dominates the ethic of producing graduates who are equipped to meet the demands of the rising labor market. This concept implies that policy guidelines are designed and formulated to support education, but from a for-profit point of view.
Consequently, cases of student debt are very pronounced in countries such as the US. While the government has encouraged investment in quality education, the emphasis is put on returns, not concerning quality graduates but increased direct foreign investment for economic development. It is good to encourage investment in education, but the focus should be on the quality of education (Brown et al. 40). In this case, relevant state departments should actively discuss policy and formulate guiding principles that would not only be good on paper but will be fully implemented. In other words, follow-up and enforcement should be fostered to ensure the proper plans that have been designed are carefully followed. Also, funding through student loans should not target a profit but aim at supporting students and their institutions and enhance competency and practical learning.
Another challenge that people have encountered is the issue of inadequate jobs for college and university graduates. It is evident that most employers currently prefer to hire individuals with alternative training and not graduates. There are many reasons for such move, and one of them is that the cost of labor to most organizations is high. Thus, to cut down their wage bill, preference is given to less educated individuals with alternative training, which is more affordable to the organizations compared to graduates (Johnstone 406). With this trend, most people ask themselves whether paying exorbitant fees for degrees is worth. In fact, with the domination of “for-profit” interests in most institutions, the issue of student debt becomes a nightmare to many. For this reason, most people are encouraged to take the entrepreneurial dimension instead of spending years in higher education institutions. Again, this raises a question; what will happen if everyone became an entrepreneur? Who will attend college or university?
To enhance performance and resolve the issue at hand, it is highly recommended that the government facilitates and supports the establishment of more privately owned colleges and Income Sharing Agreements (ISA) initiatives. This move will enhance a smooth transition from school life to successful careers among graduates. Also, it would be easy to address the issue of student debt because investors would give adequate time and support graduates in getting jobs so that they may receive back their money (Kalleberg et al. 260). With a proper relationship between students and their institutions, it would be easier to negotiate terms regarding higher education financing. Such effort would result in trust through a mutually beneficial relationship between the institution, the student, and investors.
While the issue of Income Share Agreements is essential, its implementation is minimal because of inadequate policy tools to guide the process (Boer et al. 25). Perhaps it would be better to outline proper legislations to clarify the legality of ISA. In most cases, investors would want a legally binding agreement to ascertain their returns. While this could sound like the education system still focusing on making a profit, the case is different because institutions focus on learning while the investor focuses on funding the process. Additionally, the government has a significant role in supporting the agreements through consultation and engaging all relevant stakeholders at all levels. Involving other sectors such as government departments related to finance and social welfare will not only be crucial in the formulation of efficient policies but also in their implementation.
In conclusion, the educational sector is facing many challenges including poor quality of education and related issues of incompetence and the declining employability of graduates. The issue of huge student debt is still a problematic point that is presently dominant. Such problems could be addressed through proper policy formulation and implementation. For example, government support by the legalization of Income Sharing Agreements could be a good step. Also, establish of more privately owned colleges with ISA initiatives would help in redressing grievances of the student regarding funding. With this, institutions will focus on the provision of quality education.
Brown, Meta, et al. “Measuring student debt and its performance.” Student loans and the dynamics of debt (2015): 37-52.
Johnstone, D. Bruce. “The economics and politics of cost sharing in higher education: comparative perspectives.” Economics of education review 23.4 (2004): 403-410.
Boer, HF de, et al. “Performance-based funding and performance agreements in fourteen higher education systems.” (2015).
Kalleberg, Arne L., Barbara F. Reskin, and Ken Hudson. “Bad jobs in America: Standard and nonstandard employment relations and job quality in the United States.” American sociological review (2000): 256-278.