The January 14-20, 2017 issue of The Economist includes a special report on the topic of lifelong learning. The writers note that lifelong learning today mainly benefits high achievers and likely leads to increased inequality. The classic model of education that provides many years of learning during youth, supplemented by training at work, is breaking down. In fact, on-the-job training in the U.S. is shrinking, and more and more people doubt that a four-year degree is worth the cost. During the 19th and 20th centuries, countries worldwide saw major improvements in education. The Economist argues that we should seek similar breakthroughs today.
Dr. Bharat Anand compares the success of media company Schibsted’s digital transformation (from text-heavy to picture-intensive, from careful editing to rapid publishing, and from daily publishing to real-time updating) to that of The Economist. The latter doubled its print circulation from 2000-2015 while integrating its digital and print content, without changing the speed and manner in which digital offerings were updated.
I read an article in the October 15, 2011 issue of The Economist entitled “Trouble in the Middle.” The article begins by stating that interest in MBA programs at American business schools peaked in 2009 and applications have fallen since then. The author states that some business schools are worried that the trend is related to more than just a slow recovering economy, but in fact a greater change.
For years, I have been a semi-regular reader of The Economist, primarily because it’s written from the perspective of the European community and not Americans. As a foreign policy student knows, perspectives are often colored by events and politics within your own country and an outside viewpoint may influence your thinking about a particular issue.
As the data flow continues from the published articles about the economic crisis and its impact on colleges and universities, it strikes me that the writers may be confusing facts of the economic crisis with changes inside the industry itself. It is true that public universities are under pressure from state budgets that are buckling under the weight of reduced tax revenues.