Competency-based education (CBE) is a concept gaining traction in US higher education circles for its potential to drive transformative change in the way we educate students.
Under a CBE system, students must master one competency, or a set of competencies, before moving on to the next. No longer contained to a one-size-fits-all model, students may learn at their own pace and must demonstrate a fundamental understanding of the material before moving forward. This is both a more efficient means of education and a more convenient one for rising numbers of adult learners. According to Western Governor’s University, 37 million Americans have some college experience but no degree. For many of these working adults, traditional classes at a traditional institution are simply not feasible, and traditional higher education institutions are slowly awakening to this fact. After considering the rapid advancement of online education and technology in general, paired with recent policy changes at the federal level to allow exploration beyond the credit hour model, the conditions for a fundamental rethink on how higher education is delivered could be in the making.
With demand for skilled workers rising and education institutions struggling to adapt to rapidly changing workforce needs, many countries are looking for new ways to build more efficient pathways to employment. Nowhere are these needs more pronounced than in the large and diverse higher education markets of India and Brazil. Both of these nations exhibit unique economic and social dynamics which are fostering demand for greater flexibility in education and skills training, such as CBE.