A World of Change (Part 2): Education Services as Commodities?
Continuing from the San Jose Mercury Times article Caught in the pull of globalization,
"...many executives, economists and academics say that offshoring jobs ultimately helps American companies compete in a global economy, especially in tight economic times. And companies say that to stay competitive, they have no choice but to hire the low-cost labor available.
'In business, there are only two levers: the cost side and the revenue side. Since the economy is not improving, you redirect your cost. There's no other way,'' said Ajit Gupta, chief executive and co-founder of Santa Clara-based Speedera Networks."
Competing in the education sector, balancing costs and revenues is just as tricky. University administrators all over the US are trimming budgets, cutting costs, and trying to deal with ever decreasing financial support. I imagine that they haven't overlooked distance education, independent study, and replacing faculty with lower paid employees as options for meeting their financial obligations.
"'It has always been the trend that as soon as technology products and services become commodities, then they face competition from overseas producers,' said Steve Cochrane, senior economist at Economy.com. 'The American economy and the global economy have been going through this transformation ever since the 1960s, at least.'"
And what of educational products and services? Can education be reduced to commodities, quantifiable subunits that are exchanged and inserted when and wherever needed. Until the last few decades, most instructional technologists and educators would probably have said no.