Uncertain about re-opening, universities announce one after the other that lectures and seminars will remain in the virtual classroom this coming semester. So the question for many becomes not whether universities should or should not reopen, but whether universities are worth the time and money at all. Are there major and long-lasting changes coming in higher education?

The accumulation of student debt, the saturation of the labor market with hard-earned degrees, and the proliferation of good-quality non-credited online courses all raised questions about the merit of universities, even before millions of students were forced into quasi-remote higher education. Regardless, university application numbers saw an all-time high this year in the UK, and US colleges do not seem to be negatively affected either – an impressive proof of the robustness of academia.

At 5-WORDS we wanted to find out which words and values our audience associate with the institution that has dominated education for the past 400 years. Do supporters of the university respect universities more than its critics? What would the critics like to reform? Tell us whether you think that the university today is in decline or not, and give your 5-word answer!

If you are interested in the state of the university before and after lock-down, we recommend the following articles:

Results of this survey will be posted on November 15.

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Category: Open questions

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