A possible future for education is hinted at by two articles in the week's Australian Higher Education Supplement.Side by side in the paper edition of The Australian (19 August 2015) are "The Value of Experiential Earing" (Andrew Trounson) and "Jobs at risk as IELTS Checks Go Online" (John Ross). The first reports how Coursera is moving emphasis from individual free courses to paid-for ons verified with photo id and keyboard signatures.
The second article is about how IDP Education are moving to have IELTS examinations marked on-line. There will still be human markers, but these people will each be an independent contractor (needing an ABN number and $1M insurance). The contractors pay will be cut ro $3 pr written item and they must mark at least 50 written tests a day, six hours a day, three days a week, for a minimum of two weeks a month.
IDP will only be marking Australian IELTS tests in Australia. But other educational organizations can be expected to select contractors globally, provided they meet the standards required. Australian educators can therefore expect to be competing with qualified personnel from developing nations, with lower living standards. This is likely to drive down remuneration.
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