Part II: The Current State of a College Education

(A recent interview with Rose Neilsen, the wife of Kenneth Neilsen, President of Woodbury University in California)

PB: Are you finding that there are more students who qualify for either type of scholarship, or is it about even?

RN: I think it’s about even. However in college, 50% are women and only 43% are men. More women are going to college than men. Women are also getting their Master’s. It’s 60% women and 40% men. Women are definitely getting more educated than men. We are going to be seeing more women at big companies as CEOs, because they are getting better educations.

PB: How does that compare with last year’s vs. 2010?

RN: You have to look at the last 10 years to really see the change. Last year [2011] was very close to 2010. Ten years ago, there were not as many women. I don’t know the exact specifics, but women are definitely catching up. There has only been about one-half percent in the last year that women had to drop out.

PB: Do you think more women are serious in their choice of courses?

RN: Yes, I do, and I think women are being more assertive in the classroom. More women are working. Society is used to women being at home and taking care of the children, but now these women have careers. They want to be able to take care of themselves. So many women end up as single moms and they have to support the whole family themselves. It’s sad but true. Women end up supporting a lot of families.

PB: Do any of them have husbands?

RN: Yes, but there are many cases of divorce. In many cases, it is the woman who ends up taking care of the children and a lot of the financial responsibilities. So I think that’s one of the reasons you see many women in school. They want to be independent and able to take care of themselves.

PB: How are the statistics about men and women living together without being married?

RN: Well, that’s a growing trend. That’s the newer generation. It’s a whole new world that we don’t really understand. They live together and they have children, but they are not married.

Education and New Technology

 

RN: What I think is going to be the most fascinating is how the world of technology has changed so dramatically, and the impact it will have on education. You take this new iPad. Children (2- or 3-years-old) can operate the iPad. One can get animated school games through the iPad. These are very basic pre-school things and they are interactive with the child. I have little grandchildren (just over 6 years and 2-1/2 years old) who can open books and games, and play “Finding Nemo.” They tell you if you’re not reading the correct words on the page. All this you can do on the iPad.

PB: What actually is an iPad?

RN: It’s a tablet made by Apple — the first one came about a year or two ago. It is incredible! They know their ABCs and can count to 20 or 25. All this interactive learning is an entirely different world.

PB: Do they use these in schools?

RN: One school on the East Coast is using iPads in their Kindergarten and First Grade classes. They’re doing a year of experimental program to see if the reading skills of the below average students can improve. We don’t yet know the outcome, but I think it’s going to be great. The only thing with students who are using this technology is that there is no such thing as the basic writing skills that we had to learn and were graded on. The students nowadays do not write — everything goes into their computer. It’s all keyboarding!

Part III to follow….

If you care to comment about this column, please email me at pattebarham@hotmail.com.

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