Restructuring tertiary education: Online delivery ‘to di worl’!
Higher education has been going through a major paradigm shift for some time now, but we have been for the most part stuck. Tuition is increasing steadily, while government subventions are drastically cut. This has forced faculty members to teach more courses, with more students, and less help from teaching assistants. This trend is eroding the overall student experience and the degree of interaction with lecturers, who end up with less time to do research and service within the community as more time is taken up teaching and grading hundreds of papers.
However, I have taken note of Minister of Education, Youth, and Information Senator Ruel Reid’s pronouncement at the University Council of Jamaica’s retreat in St James that the tertiary education system is being restructured. I hope this is not just another announcement. I must confess that I had a great difficulty understanding the philosophy, strategy, and essence of the restructuring based on what was published in the Sunday Observer. I comforted myself with the fact that the devil is in the details, and that one article could not do justice in communicating all that I was looking for.
Batting for online delivery
The development of the modern world economy demands an educated workforce. Places like the three I’s (India, Indonesia, and Ireland), and more recently China, are finding that the need for an educated workforce is overwhelming the capabilities of their traditional educational systems. Some universities have moved away from uni-directional, instructor-focused teaching to a more distributed student experience. This shift towards more interactive, problem-based courses is crucial when combined with the possibilities that the Internet has begun to make available internationally.