Co-founder & CEO, Anima Educacao
"Adult learners typically are looking for increased flexibility in their schedule, shorter academic programs that can be pursued part-time while they work, and the ability to access digital resources at their own pace."
In many middle-income countries, enrolments in tertiary education are stagnating or even declining as the demographic dividend that some emerging economies used to enjoy comes to an end. The trend, especially strong among students in the traditional tertiary education age range of 18-22, is creating new challenges and financial pressures for colleges and universities. On the other hand, lifelong learning is becoming a new normal, opening an attractive growth avenue for those institutions. These adult learners typically are looking for increased flexibility in their schedule, shorter academic programs that can be pursued part-time while they work, and the ability to access digital resources at their own pace. Diversifying into new student segments will even become more relevant in the post-pandemic world as students increasingly demand the flexibility to learn anywhere, anytime.
To date, some institutions have been more agile than others. Nearly all post-secondary institutions have made some investments in digital infrastructure, platforms, and training. The most academically progressive institutions have focused their innovation on revamping their pedagogical models toward greater flexibility, introducing alternative credentials, developing flexible pathways, and promoting experiential learning. They are, overall, offering their learners more choice, which has become critical during these uncertain times.
Education leaders familiar with this reality will share insights on a topic that is impacting many emerging market tertiary education institutions.