How Rethinking Regulation Could Help Innovation Thrive in Higher Education
Anyone can argue that the higher education sector is facing a crisis across the globe. Currently, we are witnessing low college and university completion rates, and increasing student debt. Graduates are burdened with a mountain of loans to deal with even before they land jobs.
Despite the apparent crisis that threatens to disrupt higher education, there are a few sources of inspiration that we can draw hope from. Innovation is one of them. Generally, higher education institutions are expected to be beacons of social and scientific excellence and the bedrock of innovation.
The current higher education system is faced with a myriad of challenges that in turn stifle innovation. Because of this, many believe that we should reevaluate higher education laws. Nonetheless, this alone may not provide the desired outcomes because the problems that face universities and colleges go beyond legal regulations. The higher education model is at the brink of collapse, and the only way out is to spur innovation.
Since current regulations about higher education somehow stifle innovation, there’s a need to reevaluate them so that we have policies that encourage innovation. To make innovation thrive in higher education, we need to change not only the current regulations but also our mindset.
Which Regulatory Changes are Needed?
The way that the current higher education model is structured doesn’t encourage innovation on social and scientific fronts. Rather than focusing on imparting skills that can address problems in the society, the education system merely passes learners through the funnel.
We don’t have an innovation problem. There are dozens of innovations that lie idle in the laboratories of colleges and universities throughout the world. What we have is a funding problem whereby governments and other stakeholders are increasingly cutting funding to higher education institutions. The current higher education funding regulations should be reevaluated so that more funds are allocated towards innovation.
Intellectual property laws have also failed to catch up with the growth of technology. It is easier to steal someone’s intellectual property since the law does not address some of the latest technologies that we see. Students at universities and colleges are the people who are supposed to drive innovation. Nonetheless, they are likely to get discouraged by the fact that their innovations can be “stolen” and credited to other people. This kills their innovative spirit and the urge to come up with ideas that address the problems that the society faces.
Updating the intellectual property law will help safeguard the work of innovators, something that will help them thrive. In the process, young innovators will be inspired. The regulations that are currently in place are also burdensome to innovators. These regulations do not encourage the spirit of exploration, which is the driving force behind innovation. A rethinking of these rules will go a long way in changing higher educations innovation problems.