Fareed Zakaria: Will Ivy Leagues Soon Be the Only Offline Colleges?
It’s a very interesting question as to whether
you can get a liberal education outside the walls of academia. There’s no question you
can increasingly get the core academic elements of that education and I think that’s a very
powerful piece of it. But there’s Khan Academy. Whether it’s Coursera. Whether it’s edX.
These are all purveyors of online education. In the case of Coursera and edX you’re providing
the same courses in many cases that you’re able to do. And I think that the interaction,
the interactive element will probably get better and better. What you’re not going to be able to provide
is the physical experience of being together with people, the lateral learning, the pure
experience, the socialization. Think about all our lives we all know that people who
succeed in life often have very good social skills, have very good political skills. They
understand how to read a room, read somebody else, sell to someone. So those qualities
might not be as well taught in an entirely online experience. But I think again the point is that the pricing
power of a college will be under significant strain if somebody says look, I wasn’t able
to afford to go to College X but I’ve taken 32 courses with are the number of college
courses you need to graduate from that college and they’re from College X but also from
Harvard, Stanford, Yale and I did pretty well in them. And here are my diplomas, my certificates
that I’ve completed those 32 courses. Will you hire me? And when an employer says we’ll
hire you because you have the training you need for this job or you have the background
you need for this job there goes the pricing model for many colleges. Not the elite colleges.
The very elite colleges are selling membership to a private club. But for mostly everybody
else you will have to explain why you’re charging $40,000 a year.