Saturday, January 09, 2010

Free Education

Seth Godin recently came out with a e-book which is available for ‘free’ download. According to him it’s all about spreading the idea. In one of the interviews on music piracy, Palash Sen of Euphoria said that he didn’t have a problem with piracy as long it is helping his work to get to people. If people really like your work then it will help your brand to grow and there can be plenty of alternative channels to make money out of it.

Can the same logic be applied to education too?

Currently we have MBA preparation centers, Engineering coaching centers, GMAT and GRE book who provide you material for preparation at enormous costs. How about some company providing books, question papers,  podcasts of lectures – all free of cost. But what can be the source of income for them? That is a food for thought !!

It can be easily applied to schools and colleges where free material can be provided on the net. There have been some arguments that this will lead to students not attending classes. But I think attending classes has a direct correlation to the quality of the teacher. If the classes are great, no one would trade it for mere notes.

As one of the articles on a similar debate says:
“The value of a college education has never been entirely about the content of the classes. People go to college to make connections with ambitious peers and eminent professors, for the social life, for the facilities and, of course, for the credential. The exclusivity of an elite education is a great part of its value, and the fact that anyone can click through a Harvard biology class online is unlikely to change that.”

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