When I was at university in the UK over 30 years ago, courses were mainly academic - the practical and vocational courses were taught at polytechnics. This is changing too - firstly because all those polytechnics are now called universities, but secondly because of the rise in the Maker movement. More and more we are going to see students demanding courses aimed at creation, design and entrepreneurship - and universities will need to change and adapt.
I'm interested in one other challenge identified both in this report and in the 16 Trends book that I was writing about yesterday - that of the lack of rewards for teaching. In the 16 Trends the warning is that there will be a shortage of teachers - as other employment opportunities are more attractive. There have been several reports I've read recently about the reasons why so many teacher leave the profession. In the case of university lecturers it seems that teaching is valued less than research - and that teaching-only contracts are paid less despite the fact that these may be the best in terms of pedagogy when compared with the outdated teaching styles of those professors whose main focus is research.
As I walked through the R&D Office a couple of days ago I saw a new book there called College (Un)bound by Jeffrey Selingo which challenges the traditional belief that a university education offers a ticket to a better life (especially when considered along with student loan debt and rising unemployment). This is definitely going to be a challenge - many will be asking is a university degree really worth the price?