Monday, April 26, 2004
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Will education be outsourced?
One of the more amusing responses I get from the outsourcing essay is the reader's fervent desire that my profession be the next one vulnerable to outsourcing.
Yesterday's New York Times Education section raises a valuable point -- college education via the Internet is already place, in the form of continuing ed. This cover story points out:
Even Ph.D. defenses are going digital. It's just a matter of time before the educators on the other end of the network are based in countries other than the United States.
I for one, welcome our new
I completely agree. For the most part, I'm just wondering why some technology hasn't been taken up faster.
I'm a TA for a graduate-level course that's video-conferenced to 6 different universities. Because we're not limited by geography, we can get "the" expert to give a lecture in each topic that we cover. Supported by a website and online discussions, I think that the class is a better experience than most normal lecture. Plus it builds a community in the field, encourages cross-university collaboration, etc.
While there are added benefits for this type of class aimed at a students who will be working in a particular field, I can't imagine why first-year classes wouldn't be better served by having online or video lectures bringing the best lecturers from around the world combined with a series of smaller discussion groups. My biology 101 class had over a thousand students in one lecture hall. Surely the online version would be an improvement.posted by: MC on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
The Indian government sees health care as a growth industry. Public and private Indian universities are churning out 20,000 doctors and 30,000 nurses a year, some of them destined for jobs in western countries. That is roughly triple the pace at which nurses were trained during the 1990s.
In the so-called medical-tourism business, the focus is on big-ticket surgical procedures from face-lifts to liver transplants. Asian countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore have taken the lead in this field. Promoting health-care services alongside tourist destinations, the countries attracted more than 600,000 patients in 2003 alone, according to officials in Thailand and Malaysia.
Apollo offers cardiac surgery for about $4,000, compared with at least $30,000 in the U.S. Apollo's orthopedic surgeries cost $4,500, less than one-fourth the U.S. price. Consulting firm McKinsey & Co. says medical tourism could become a $2 billion-a-year business in India alone by 2012; the category is so new it previously wasn't measured.posted by: bobdob on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Once most programmers are earning $15 an hour due to outsourcing and massive H1-B imports, the market will expand even further. Yes, most U.S. universities will be forced to abandon CompSci programs. After all, who's going to pay $100k to learn how to do a $15/hour job? BUT: those CompSci programs will still be going strong in India and China. That's a good thing. Or something like that.posted by: The Lonewacko Blog on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Since much of research-based academia is devoted to reproducing hegemonic discourses, you can't outsource things like neoliberal economics to India or Latin America because they likely won't come up with the "right" answers. So there is little fear that Professor Drezner will be outsourced.
And yes, I know he's a political scientist. He only plays an economist in the pages of FA.posted by: General Glut on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Since much of the neohegemonic discourse is already provided by first rate Indian economists like Jagdish Bhagwati, we have to a large extent already outsourced much of economics.
And that, sadly for trolls like GG, is a good thing.
I only wish we lived in an economy where we could deny its capitalist benefits to the limousine socialists who live well despite their worst efforts.posted by: ignore the trolls on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
The only question is whether they will enslave us in their underground sugar mines.posted by: brian burgess on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
Last year I took a course in Social Informatics (Computers & Society) while working towards my Master's degree.
Every improvement in communications technology this century -- radio, television, computers, and now the internet, was heralded as a breakthrough for distance education. But it was always trumpeted as a way for those folks, the "disadvantaged" children, to benefit.
But the real question is, would you take such a course? Would you be okay if that was your child's education?
If you wouldn't want it for yourself, then why on earth would you think anybody else would settle? And there's a lot more to schooling than just taking classes -- the entire social aspect, for example.
And so far, people haven't been willing to pay as much for distance education, even though the initial setup costs are much higher. It's one thing to take a class or two this way, but how many people are really doing their entire academic career this way? Or is it just a few classes here and there before transferring to a local school?
As I said, these kinds of changes were promised with each new technology, and have mostly failed to fundamentally transform education each time. So count me as pessimistic that human nature will have changed that much.posted by: Lis Riba on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
I think why U of Phoenix and others like it are getting so many students is not just because of online courses, and yes the whole program is online, but because they do not have to take repetitive and useless General Ed classes. I cannot stand 4 year programs where you really do not get to the stuff of your major until the last three semesters. I did history in high school and English and math. If it is not needed for the major why should I have to take it. I can educate myself better about history by buying used books than attending rote learning courses for 100 or more dollars a unit!!
Sorry college education is so annoying to me. These schools like U of Phoenix teach you only what you need to know for the major, get in, get a degree and get on with your life. Useful learning for the business world.
As for k-12, won't happen for a long, long time.
>Once most programmers are earning $15 an hour due to outsourcing and massive H1-B imports, the market will expand even further. Yes, most U.S. universities will be forced to abandon CompSci programs. After all, who's going to pay $100k to learn how to do a $15/hour job? BUT: those CompSci programs will still be going strong in India and China. That's a good thing. Or something like that.
How come colleges still have programs in history, english, classiscs etc.?posted by: iliaster on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
If offshore outsourcing means anything, it means that a lot more people are going to have to get a lot more education.
You mean, we'll be out of the workforce for ever longer periods, and incurring ever larger debts, in order to get ever smaller salaries?
Sounds like a great trend...posted by: Keith Tylet on 04.26.04 at 10:51 PM [permalink]
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