If Our Higher Education System Is Broken, How Can We Fix It?
If Our Higher Education System Is Broken, How Can We Fix It?
We’ve all heard the many pundits and researchers claim that our country’s current educational model is simply not sustainable for the vast majority of students and families who want to engage in it, now and in the future.

Costs are soaring and student debt is escalating, with the national student loan debt at $1.41 trillion, leaving us to wonder exactly why are higher education prices so exorbitant  and will the return on our investment actually be sufficient to prepare our children effectively for life after college. And we wonder if our children will be learning what’s needed today to become a highly contributive professional in this new digital world.

To gain a deeper understanding of these issues, I wanted to tap into the perspective of an entrepreneurial veteran – one who provides top-level educational programs to millions of students around the world. I was excited to catch up with Vishen Lakhiani, Founder and CEO of Mindvalley and author of the book The Code of the Extraordinary Mind. Mindvalley designs and offers learning experiences from some of the most well-known authors in transformational education for over three million students worldwide, including Harv Eker, Lisa Nichols, and Sonia Choquette.

Vishen shares his unique vision of a new educational model that he believes answers the educational challenges of today:

Kathy Caprino: Vishen, you've shared in your recent video your views that there are six ways higher education is no longer viable, and is in fact, a dysfunctional model. Can you share these six ways?

Vishen Lakhiani: Peter Diamandis said "There's gonna be as much change between 2016-2022 as 2000-2015 and also 1900-2000.” This puts everything perspective on how fast the world is changing. So how much have colleges changed in the last hundred years? Not much , and I think it’s a shame. Sure, lots of good comes from it, but I’ve spoken about 6 ways the system needs reform.

Here they are:

The Duration / Time

Students become isolated from the changes that are happening so rapidly in industry, commerce, and the world. The worst part is this idea that once you graduate from college at say 23 years old, most think education is over with and you can go out and work.


We have built a system where we aggregate people based on age and in my class in the university, everybody's age is within 24 months of each other's age. The problem with that is that we take away the opportunity for young people to learn from senior folks and senior folks to learn from the young people.


This is changing rapidly and new recruitment models will be born. For example, there might be an app store for human beings in which people will be selected for specific projects based on their skills, portfolio; they will be assembled for these projects, they may be working with each other across the planet, located in different geographic location. The idea of being an “employee” is changing. More and more are replaced by internal entrepreneurs, and becoming mobile-free agents. Plus, you have automation, robotics and AI coming faster than anyone realizes.

There was one HR conference that my team attended and it was boldly declared that within 10 years, employeeship will end.

The Cost Savings

Courses provided by conventional Universities are unusually expensive. We believe that the system has, in many ways, become corrupt which leads students to ridiculous amount of debt. We want to make it affordable.


We all now possess devices with unimaginable processing power in our pockets, Internet has made information abundant and AI is just around the corner to solve complex problems. All of these make the current curriculum quite redundant. It’s important to think about what truly will be an education for living, in a world so different from 30 years ago and even more different in the next 10 years.

The Teachers

Teachers today have their hands tied more than ever. To survive as a teacher in the classical system, you are rewarded for your research much more than your actual teachings.

So as a student, you don't get the best learning experience. Books offered are often quite dry, and many classes are not very engaging, leading you to disconnect and not truly retain the knowledge.

Caprino: Do you think this traditional system ever worked well?

Lakhiani: Of course, it worked for a world when everyone needs to fit a task in a world with linear and slower change. But today that world is long passed. Forty-seven percent of jobs will disappear, so what do you educate for? Skills that truly rely on human creativity, that require humanly attitude and mindset of top performance. These are the things AI & Robots cannot replace (yet).

Caprino: How has “attitude” become a crucial determinant for success in the new era, and how is our traditional education system getting it wrong?

Lakhiani: Skills you need to succeed in the workplace are changing as quickly as technologies change. The right attitude can get you ready to deal with exponential change. And best part is, if you teach the right kind of attitudes to be a high performer, you can thrive and go learn any new skill as it’s required in the future.  The attitude will stick.

Caprino: What's the new model that you've committed to exploring?

Lakhiani: We looked at the problems recognized in colleges and build something fresh.

At its core, it’s a “school” you join every year for one month, in an exciting new city every year. It combines people at all ages and stages of their lives and focuses on the gaps in education.

Caprino: Why do think this will be a superior approach?

Lakhiani: Traditional schools don't create entrepreneurs, don't create individuals who are trained to function in the new world as it’s evolving to be.

1. We give students what truly matters in life: transformational education that leads to the right attitudes that are directly correlated with success.

2. Students receive a built-in community for growth: not only are the fellow students YOUR age but of ALL ages. A 17-year-old might learn together with a 50-year-old, and this supports one of the greatest ways people find jobs today – not through resumes but through personal contacts. Think about what happens when you have young people and entrepreneurs put in a same university together. These young people have the chance to bond with job creators, or collaborate with others who might be looking for partnerships.

Caprino: Vishen, what do you say in response to the objection that the vast majority of employers still want to see all the traditional education data - your school, degree, GPA, honors achieved in college, etc.. How will this educational model address the traditional hiring process that demands this traditional type of data?

Lakhiani: We see companies like Google, Ernst & Young and others changing their recruitment model, dropping the mandatory criteria. We see the same here at Mindvalley. What people need is to be tapped into an ecosystem, a community. And since we bring together extraordinary people of all stages of their lives together, we know it will create more employment opportunities than just blasting out resumes with a line about your college degree.

Caprino: How can people "try on" this new model and see if it’s right for them?

Lakhiani: They can learn more at Mindvalley U as this is starting at the end of May in Barcelona as the first city.

Caprino: What is your ultimate vision for rolling this out, if your Barcelona pilot program is a success?

Lakhiani: Our goal is to become a recognized alternative for college experience. We work on the campus every year, and we build and nurture a strong alumni group for people to connect and grow. We believe we’ll see 10,000 students enrolling onto our city campuses on an annual basis.

Caprino: Finally, Vishen, what do you believe qualifies you and Mindvalley to create this new model and who would you get to help you?

Lakhiani: We've been working in the education sector for 12 years and the team that put this together has a track record of putting together some of the greatest transformational learning events in the world such as A-Fest.

We have also done extremely well in the digital space with millions of students following our courses and programs. Now we get to take that offline in what we think is a beautiful format for the future.

We already have a community of enthusiastic fans and with the brilliant types of people we attract, I'm sure we have the critical ingredients to build a world-changing education model.

Read the original article on Forbes.