The University of the People will open its virtual doors in April 2009 with just two BS Programs: Business Administration and Computer Science. They will be free (as in beer) and open to everybody on Earth with a high school diploma. All through e-Learning. Text will be open, and the software used will be open-source.
The University of the People developed a revolutionary study program which allows anyone to acquire post secondary education. We do that without the restrictions of walls, a hefty administration, without even a cafeteria – UoP brings quality academic education to the remotest of places with practically no cost.
1. High school or high school equivalent degree from a known institution
2. Sufficient knowledge of the English language
3. Frequent access to the Internet
UoP will charge only for admission ($15-50) and exam fees ($10-100), adjusted to the student’s country of origin. Classes will begin next September, and guess what, UoP anticipates “tens of thousands of students to enroll within the first five years of operation”.
It will also seek accreditation as soon as possible.
This represents the first effort at opening up higher education internationally, and if successful will likely find our dear universities at a loss. It may be a big competitor even in local markets, if it gets US-backed accreditation. Now, the only issue which is not fully clear is how? What about the faculty? UoP states it will use “peer-to-peer teaching with the curriculum and support of respected scholars” and professionals. Any details?
However, no doubt this effort will find success also in the short term, especially in less developed countries, where access to education is low or costly. But still, access will depend on Internet availability.