Yesterday, I posted about the concept of Virtual Onshoring, and how I believe that a university from a developing nation could use this concept to serve the U.S. market, which could lead to significant economic gains for the developing nation. But how can they do this, and what is stopping them right now? The following is a summary of what I see would be necessary to succeed.
I first coined the term Virtual Onshoring in an Open Letter I wrote to Paul Kagame of Rwanda, in 2008. The idea is simply that with power of the Internet, we are now a “global village”, and anyone who has intellectual goods or services in a developing nation, can sell them to customers in more developed nations, in a manner that would be no different than if they were actually located in the developed nation. This could be very lucrative in the online higher education market, since the University of Phoenix alone makes over a 1/2 billion dollars per year in profit!
A few weeks back, The Economist had an excellent article talking about students going to college in other countries, and it surprised me that they didn’t talk about the idea of virtual onshoring (which I will be posting a series of articles about starting tomorrow. Here are the comments I posted to their article:
It still seems amazing to me that there hasn’t been more “virtual onshoring” of online universities to lucrative markets, such as the United States. For instance, while the University of South Africa offers relative high quality doctoral programs at a fraction of the cost of U.S. universities, it has not done many of the relatively basic things (such as gaining U.S. accreditation) that would allow it to be much more successful, and potentially earn millions of dollars. Thus, I believe that whichever developing nation realizes that they could dramatically improve their economy through the virtual onshoring of education, they have a chance to dominate this niche.
Recently I received an email from a fellow scholar without a doctorate, who had read one of my blog entries about the University of South Africa (UNISA) and my work towards a doctorate. I was going to just respond back to him directly, but I am one to want “more effect for the effort”, so I’m posting my current thoughts about UNISA, South Africa, and the interconnection between them.