I have a theory. The debate around accreditation in education often focuses on two extremes: the people who don’t believe in the necessity of a four-year degree and the people who think accreditation, and an Ivy-laden stamp of approval, is the only way to succeed. But, nearly two years into covering edtech, I’ve realized that grouping these cohorts into two very separate buckets may be an oversimplification. In fact, as I spoke about on Equity this week, there is more of an overlap than you’d imagine when it comes to how entrepreneurs are viewing the future of education.
Let me explain. When it comes to fundraising or types of capital, optionality has been the term du jour in the current tech environment. And the same goes when we’re talking about the types of education pathways that a student should have access to.
For example, Woolf founder Joshua Broggi thinks that many tech bootcamps, or newer colleges, will eventually need to provide an accredited option in order to continue attracting customers. He raised millions to prove how important accreditation as a service will be to future educators. Meanwhile, Strive School, led by Tobia De Angelis, was launched in response to the outdated STEM course material taught in European industries. Even though a majority of universities in Europe are low cost or free to attend, he argued that accessibility doesn’t equate to effectiveness. He raised millions of dollars to prove why an alternative is needed.
The similarity between these two entrepreneurs is that they think students need a high-quality education that is actually effective; they just differ in the strategies on how to get there. Ethos-wise, both camps agree that it’s important to offer students a variety of resources, because traditional, one-size-fits-all learning isn’t effective.