About 9% of global students admitted to taking part in a massive open online course in 2016, a number expected to triple by 2019. And the rate of adoption for online education is growing even faster in the developing world. The Philippines and other emerging nations are pushing online education for several reasons. Let’s look at each of these factors in detail.
The Fastest Route to an Education for the Population
Developing nations are leapfrogging entire stages of infrastructure and social progress to reach developed status, such as the mass adoption of cell phones due to the lack of landlines and thus eliminating the need for traditional, wired infrastructure. By building solar power or harnessing other types of local renewables, they don’t have to build as many traditional power plants and networks of wires.
The Philippines and other emerging nations are pushing online education as they try to cultivate their populations so they don’t have to build up brand new universities and related institutions from the ground up.
When a nation passes legislation to recognize MOOC coursework as equivalent to its own educational offerings, it can save significant money by letting its students take the courses others have already set up and run instead of trying to build entire curricula for programmers, managers, and medical specialists. And using the existing educational infrastructure makes the educational programs cheaper for students, as well. This is why the Philippine Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are deliberately working with accredited online and hybrid courses because so many of them are completely free for all involved.
Access to Programs Local Schools May Not Have
For people living in undeveloped parts of the Philippines, the nearest college may offer agricultural and mechanical courses like the A&M colleges in the United States, but they are unlikely to be able to earn an engineering, nursing or management degree from these schools. By encouraging online education, the Philippines is able to ensure these programs are available to people outside of the big cities.
Access to Recognition Local Institutions Cannot Provide
The rise of online MBA programs offered at schools with global brands allows people to earn an online MBA degree no matter where they live. Online schools with an existing brand like Rutgers are a popular choice for international online students since the online degrees allow them to earn certifications that stand out from those issued by local institutions. Unlike small backwater colleges, an online degree from a reputable school is a known quantity with employers. Those earning micro-degrees or master’s degrees through online courses with schools like Stanford and Rutgers not only stand out from the crowd of Filipino job seekers but have degrees recognized by personnel managers raised or educated in the West.
Encouraging the adoption of online education is often the fastest way to bring this information to the masses. The lower cost of these programs for both students and the government is certainly a driving factor. For students, the ability to complete online programs teaching what local schools do not or earning certifications recognized by international employers, improving one’s own prospects of getting a job, are certainly reasons for earning an online degree.
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