Are Educational Institutions still worth it in 2020?

“2020” is now a battle arena to us and among everything, Covid-19 strikes our heart with terror. The emergence of this devastation has affected the young people in a drastic way. Traditional institutions were some of the first places to shut down as a result of the pandemic. The American Council on Education projects that nationwide enrollment in the fall will be down by 15% for revenue loss, conservatively, resulting in a loss of $23 billion just for tuition fees. It is estimated that some schools might not survive through Covid-19 while some say that 345 universities across the United States may have to shut down in the coming years if the pandemic continues. Having said that, students have the alternative to learn and get educated from unconventional online learning sites like Coursera, edX, Udemy etc. Bangladesh too is following the same path.

Online learning is not a new term in this 21st century. During this omen of COVID 19, all students are forced to choose online classes because it’s hazardous to attend the educational institutions. Now it appears that learners, in general, got two options.  The online courses provided by platforms like ” EdX, Coursera, Udemy” and online courses by their “Traditional institutions” or the institutions they are studying in. Now although the students are taking online classes provided by their conventional institutions they still to have to pay for things like the library, dorm facilities, sports and transportation fees. You might be thinking to yourself that “WAIT, why are they making the students pay for stuff that they are not even using?”An unimpressed student posted on twitter that”By September, she will lose almost 3000 dollars to rent a house she’s not even living in.”. If you are a student at Harvard, your 4 year Bachelor’s course will cost you 50000$ even if you’re taking online classes (Whoa!). Quite unfair, right? First, let’s take an overview of the costs and quality of different types of online course providers. Coursera, edX, etc are quite well known. They provide a wide range of courses. For example, Coursera provides three types of online courses:

  1. Individual Course For 4-6 weeks       $29-$99 (some free courses)
  2. Specialized Program   4-6 months      $39-$79 per month
  3. Online Degree 1-3 years                      $15-$25,000

The instructors are highly professional and some of them already teach in respected institutions.

But would you pay 50,000 US Dollars for your education? Or you would go with 5000 instead? Did your mind just say 5000? Well, buckle up, because I might just convince you to pay 50000 instead. During this omen of Covid-19, we all know how our life is right now. Hundreds of hours wasted on absolutely nothing.  And the educational institutions are trying to keep up with the situation.  Now, what’s the difference between the conventional and unconventional platform?  Glad you asked. Although these unconventional platforms provide very professional courses, do you think they can be used as an alternative to the ” Traditionals”? The answer would be no. And here’s why. The listed institutions can give you a lot of things that the online platforms can’t cope up with. Let’s do some fact check:

◾ Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree. Quite popular terms, yes? Now, these so-called “Degrees” are essential for any future jobs either you want to get to a company or any research facility. Well, that’s not going to be the case if you’re going to join Tesla though. Elon Musk wouldn’t care about your degree at all. But once again, only an exception.

◾ Your degree says a sure thing about yourself. That you have been introduced with much dimensional knowledge that’s going to be super handy in solving any particular problem in that area or say to dig things deeper.

But is a degree everything? Some of you might disagree with this. Because an independent learner too can have better performance in a particular field. But I’m afraid the knowledge that’s served in those online platforms are only bite-sized chunks of knowledge that are made digestible for enthusiasts. For a whole meal? You’ve got to turn your heads to your varsities. Now we can’t say that 50,000$ is a piece of cake. It is not. But let’s not forget not every institution is going to make you pay 50k. And again you might complain that they are making you pay for stuff you’re not even using. But you might have to look at things in another way. Not only are you paying for the maintenance cost you are also helping the people who live off it. So if you can pay 30,000$ to 500,000$, why not? Grab your chance to get to the Ivy League colleges. And if you have the potential but not the money, you can always get a scholarship.

It’s clear that the free/paid courses like edX, Coursera, Udemy, etc are immensely helpful but are we getting the same amount of recognition and brand value which we can get from our traditional ones? Then again, if we leave our university courses midway right e it’s online now, we might be recognised as dropouts. Now you have to choose your side. Do you want to pay a huge amount of money in your varsity or you want to be an independent learner and shift to Coursera, Udemy instead? Therefore, are the educational institutions worth it in this pandemic of 2020? I think you know your answer already.

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Jointly written by: Jannatul Wara, Musarat Habib, Pema Yangzom, Sifat Tasnim & Tahia Binte Salim.