High-Quality Education for All

Author: Claudio Cirillo

“High-quality education is an issue in the United States. Elite universities have been criticized to follow a rich-in rich-out model according to which a student of middling marks have far greater possibilities to join economic elites than a student with excellent grades in an ordinary university worldwide. Top universities’ students, no matter which social background, have roughly the same opportunities to join the top 20% wealthy people, but the story is different for the top 1%. A rich family increases the odds dramatically.

In this uneven environment, community colleges were born in order to guarantee access to education at an affordable price. Community colleges provide students with classes and programs for the first two years of the bachelor and then students apply to universities to finish a degree as transfer students. In this way they save a considerable amount of money even though admission as a transfer student is far harder than admission on the first year.

Herbert Gross, a math professor who left MIT to teach poor-class people at various colleges, refers to them as “the statue of liberty for those who otherwise might have been educationally disenfranchised”. He thinks that math teaching is the most powerful weapon to increase social mobility and equality across social classes.  Herbert Gross is a pioneer in open education. He has been among the first people who filmed themselves and published video lessons publicly available and free of charges.

The importance of open education website has been growing over time. Starting from Ivy League universities, institutions worldwide opened their own platform and developed full classes followed from thousands of students around the globe. Scientific topics have been by far the most popular classes, students who want to have a deep knowledge about their own studies or want to get a broader understanding of the surrounding reality learned computer skills, basic maths and science from them.

Recently, the biggest international companies,  such as Microsoft and Google, began to work on it. Google developed a five-course certificate, completely free and available on internet, to provide curious users with entry-level IT background. These certificates are now recognized as resume on international job market. These courses, despite the fact that can be carried out completely at distance, are challenging and require from eight to ten hours per week in order to provide an extensive extra-curricular knowledge.

Formal platforms, such as Coursera, have been developed to improve the efficiency of distant learning. “We are gonna see many institutions joining online programs because these valuable courses are already optimal credentials for the job market” said Rick Levin, CEO of Coursera. In fact, European Top Universities joined this wave and published materials widely available. IE Business School developed more than twelve courses about Business&Management, Applied Science and Social Sciences which reached more than 150 nationalities and improved strategic skills of students. This wave is not gonna stop: widely available education is the key for social mobility and equal opportunities and we all have to fight for high-quality education in all areas of our globe.”

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