Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, discussed her strategy on Thursday to modernize higher education gathering advice from leaders in the industry regarding matters in which the government can aid in overhauling an outdated system needed to support modern workforce requirements
“The reality is that there are a number of challenges and opportunities facing higher education, and Washington, D.C., does not have all the answers,” DeVos stated during initial remarks during an Education event titled the “Rethink Higher Education Summit.”
“Government is not the best at finding new solutions to tough problems,” Devos stated. “Government isn’t the best at being flexible or adaptable to a constantly changing environment. And government certainly isn’t the best at questioning the status quo.”
Since she confirmed, DeVos noted on several occasions that higher education in the country desperately needs a face-lift, however in addition to an emphasis on career-training courses – details regarding the new strategy are minimal.
Last month the secretary requested a “major shift” for higher education that will prioritize apprenticeships rather than four-year degrees.
The focus on training courses and apprenticeships is an ongoing effort prioritized by the previous administration hoping to fill around 6 million positions in America and help fill the nation’s skills gap.
According to Georgetown University’s report by the Center on Education and Workforce, statistics show 30 million well-paid occupations exist for citizens who lack four-year degrees.
Discussions On Higher Ed
A panel discussion held on Thursday help spotlight DeVos’ plan to shape higher education in upcoming years.
“You represent a diverse group of institutions and organizations from across the higher education sector, the common denominator is that each of you began by seeing a problem or a deficiency or an inefficiency,” DeVos explained to a gathering of members representing a variety of education officials. “You questioned why it was that way, and then you developed a solution to fix it or make it better.
“It is that type of thinking that we need more of – lots more of – in American education today,” DeVos stated. “We need to question everything, look for ways in which we can improve and embrace the imperative of change.”
Among various topics discussed on Thursday included plans on how to align program offerings with local employer needs and how to keep quality and demand high whilst getting employers to trust candidate’s qualifications apart from four-year degrees.