Bill Gates: internet more important than university 'in five years'

Internet gives university the slap down
Internet gives university the slap down

Bill Gates has outlined his predictions for education in the next five years, believing that universities will become less important and the internet will rise to being the dominant force in education.

Speaking at the Techonomy 2010 conference, Gates spoke of changes in the education system that he thought would happen, noting that there will still be a place for primary and secondary education in schools but place-based learning – going off to college and university – will become far less important in the next five years.

"The self-motivated learner will be on the web and there will be far less place-based [learning]," Gates notes.

"The web can offer feedback, you can have group discussion, you have video… you have all sorts of things that [prove] college needs to be less place based."

Web chat

The reason for this sea change in education is money. Gates, who gives away most of his fortune to charity, is hoping to bring down the cost of higher education, making it fairer and far less elitist, and he sees the internet as the perfect conduit for this.

"We are trying to take the $200,000 education that is increasingly hard to get because there is less money for it and the capacity is not there, and we are trying to provide it to every kid who wants it," Gates explains.

"Only technology can bring that down that figure not to $20,000 but to $2,000. So place-based learning will be five times less important than it is today."

Via TechCrunch

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.