Arizona State Universityis planningto launch a free global education initiative in April 2022to enrol an additional 100 million students by 2030. The program will be available online in 40 languages for five business courses.
The main aim of the initiative is to make education affordable and accessible tostudents around the globe.
AI and Machine learning will be used to teach and grade the students under this program. Philip Thigo (ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management, Senior Director) highlighted the classes to be available on smartphones and computers, with teachers appearing as Avatars and students will work in global groups with their classmates. He said that if the successful credits help in getting business loans then the students can really benefit from it.
Sanjeev Khagram (ASU Thunderbird School of Global Management, Dean and Director General) explained that the program shall be initially available for college graduates and shall move to include undergraduates over time.
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Currently, only 7% of the world's population hasa college degree. However, by 2035, 470 million will be in the market for a degree and eight universities with each servicing 40,000 students every week for the next 15 years will berequired to meet this futuristic market demand.
The initiative shall focus on students from Iran, Kenya, Mexico, Indonesia, Egypt, India, Senegal, Brazil and Vietnam and courses willbe available in native languages. It shall be extended across Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin regions and 25 languages by the second year, and in Europe and Central Asia by the fourth year.
The students completing the courses shall be awarded academic credit along with aglobal management and entrepreneurship certificate. The credits shall be transferable and can be used to pursue a degree at ASU.
The foundations of this initiative were laid around a decade ago when Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) were initiated. The courses were found to have a wide reach but low completion percentage.
Bryan Alexander (Georgetown University, Senior Scholar) attributes this to poor design and dependence on web-based textbooks. He stated that the initiative needs to prove its worth by successful retention of a large percentage of enrolling students.
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The funding of the program was done with USD 25 million, gifted by F. Francis Najafi (Iranian immigrant) who made millions in private equity. Further funding of the program shall be done by government, corporate and philanthropic advances.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
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