The Golden Age of Universities Is Ending

The golden age of universities is coming to an end
The golden age of universities is coming to an end

KPMG has explored the future of the higher education sector that has bid farewell to 100 years of tradition in the global pandemic. According to the report prepared by KPMG, the bright times of universities coming to the crossroads are coming to an end. The world's largest universities, which are in the upper league especially with their tuition fees, are at the crossroads. They will either remain traditional or incorporate new education models into the system.



Education is one of the sectors that underwent radical transformations in a very short time due to the pandemic. While countries around the world are trying to streamline primary and secondary education, the next link of the system, the universities, is on the brink of a critical crossroads. KPMG explored how the pandemic is changing higher education around the world. According to the report prepared by KPMG, the golden age of universities, which have been the focus of higher education since the mid-20th century, is coming to an end.

Public Sector Leader for KPMG Turkey Alper Karachi, reports the history of the connection between higher education and the socio-economic development of the country and that tells the future. “Since the Second World War, higher education is an extraordinary growth story of the transition from an elite system to a mass or highly attended system. This expansion has greatly contributed to the enrichment of life, nation building, social welfare and technological progress. After 1990, especially Canada, Australia, England and the USA became a sector on their own in international education. However, this period has come to an end. Rising costs and unwillingness of governments and students to cover these costs have brought universities to a point. The pandemic took this point forward rapidly. "

Some of the striking findings and some headings in the report prepared by KPMG are as follows;

  • Broad support for universities, which have had an important place in society since the 1960s, has been shaken. High wages due to high costs and the equivalent of this price are questioned.
  • Traditional universities are approaching the critical threshold. They need to decide whether they will transform into new types of structures in line with the change and needs in society, and whether to optimize their existing operations in search of greater efficiency and more talent.
  • Increasing tuition fees above inflation and rising student debt hurt equality of opportunity. Poor students cannot afford their tuition and incur debts they cannot pay.
  • Despite the high wages they pay, many schools see assistant educators rather than permanent faculty members.
  • This has cast a shadow over expensive and bright universities. Because nobody wants to pay more to these universities than they currently have.

Recruitment criteria have changed

  • The situation on the employer's side is also mixed. As the economic change accelerates, the industry prefers people ready for the job rather than training new graduates from universities. Many employers, candidates who meet criteria such as social skills, emotional intelligence, teamwork, communication and time management that universities do not directly teach are more fortunate.
  • It is calculated that the cost of one out of every five people studying higher education in the UK will be below the money to be earned in the future. In other words, if this money was not spent on university education, the financial situation of these students would be better. 2020 percent of respondents in a 61 study in the UK say a bachelor's degree is less valuable than it was 10 years ago.

The trend of returning to vocational education

  • In many European countries where higher education is paid, parents want their children to attend university, but they cannot afford to call a plumber home. Because skills training and apprenticeships were pushed to the background due to the expansion in higher education. There are serious imbalances between post-secondary higher education and vocational education planning.
  • The future has come unexpectedly and early as in every sector. Many universities around the world were closed in February 2020 and still not opened. Universities, considered the future of societies, could not take priority in the rescue packages of countries. Many academics who opposed online education quickly began to teach many courses online. Universities can structure their own processes with better practices by examining the transformation of many sectors and organizations.
  • Technological change and the new world of work create new expectations for post-secondary education types. Demographic change will likely result in smaller local student groups in most liberal democracies.
  • China is rapidly developing its local university system as an educational model. India invests heavily in post-secondary institutions. International demand is shifting from traditional university education to technical people who hone their skills through vocational and practical courses.

Mixed reality campuses

  • All the claims and predictions point to the transition from monotony to great diversity of higher education. Physically, we will see a mix of real campuses, augmented campuses (where mixed reality and analog world meet) and virtual learning environments.
  • Educationally, we will witness much more experience with content and presentation. This diversity will be driven by the quest to meet the needs of individual students.
  • The quality of personalized learning will be the key to corporate success.
  • Transformation will not be limited to curriculum, continuation of education, student support and research. The back office, business model, technology and the sum of capabilities such as flexibility and agility that should be present in every organization are also part of the transformation. Institutions with a high level of these abilities will be much better equipped to survive destruction and create the new system. A more efficient and lower cost construction is possible. In turn, higher education institutions will have more resources for learning and research.

e-learning, bots, hologram 

  • The digital revolution is creating new competitors, especially in more affordable online education. In the world, e-learning is expected to grow at an annual rate of 2018 to 2024 percent between 7,5-10,5. It seems that many traditional universities are not organizationally able to transition to this system, and many are culturally reluctant. This table will make competitors stronger.
  • Unlike the fiction to date, the courses will be designed to be presented primarily digitally with the help of technology and will be supported by people in face-to-face training.
  • In addition to video, mixed reality and simulations accompanying written texts and presentations, holograms will also be part of the training.
  • Smart bots for each topic will provide a wide range of personalized learning, monitored by advanced learning analytics. Students will not have to leave home to experience this experience.

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