Student Group Contributions
The massive invasion of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) has substantially changed the way people communicate, think and act. In any university students should learn how to communicate, how to think, and, finally, how to act. Given this evident and strong link, ICT plays a fundamental role in the transmission of information between the academic staff and the “student world”. Another consideration is that public funding of the educational system is decreasing and private bodies are more and more concerned with financing universities. In many cases these donors are private firms and they support the educational system in order to produce a receptive and educated staff. But firms are nowadays highly involved in the ICT revolution.
It is often said that “money makes the world go round.” When one looks to the challenges facing universities in the first quarter of the twenty-first century, it quickly becomes clear that money is a recurring and universal theme. Money enters almost every debate connected with higher education, even those that may appear more esoteric, such as debates concerned with the purpose and defining characteristics of university education. Money is also implicated when one asks how European universities are to respond to the changes to university education wrought by globalisation.
The last two decades have seen the expansion of ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) in all aspects of our lives, including at university. ICTs are already recognised as very useful, and in some cases even essential, for both teachers and students. They are present in many aspects of the university’s life. ICTs provide links - between students themselves, between students and teachers and between the administration and the students. They also facilitate access to knowledge. These two aspects, which are largely intertwined, should be further developed within the university. Presently, the use of ICTs varies from one university to another, with certain universities promoting a wider use of ICTs, sometimes but not always because they have more financial resources.
As is well known, higher education has a threefold nature. The first side is the relation between education and individual welfare: from a statistical point of view, high levels of education are positively correlated with a higher probability of employment, higher expected wage and even a higher life expectancy. The second side is the "public good" nature of higher-education. If the average level of education is high, even lesser-educated people can gain advantage (e.g. if the average level of education of medical doctors increases, the life expectancy of the majority of the people also increases).
The question of higher education and the distribution of its costs concerns mostly the question of who profits from the education of students. We can speak about higher education as about the public good only insofar as we are able to find demonstrable positive effects that individual education has on society as whole, and the individual is not able to charge society for reaping that benefit. If we want to consider higher education as a pure public good, it would also be necessary to prove that higher education has a positive effect only on society and brings no benefit to the individual student.