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Micro credentials threaten universities, says OECD director

It is only a matter of time before the “monopoly” universities have on content, teaching and accreditation is broken, according to a global education expert.

Speaking at the Education World Forum in London on 21 January, OECD education director Andreas Schleicher said the increasing digitisation of learning and the development of “micro credentials”—short online courses that provide students with a digital certification or a “badge” when complete—would see universities’ power in education decrease.

“Why are universities so powerful in the UK or elsewhere? Because they have been very smart to combine three things to create a monopoly…they own the content, they have the delivery—they teach—and very importantly they own the credits, the accreditation system. Put those things together and you become incredibly powerful. Digitalisation is pulling this apart, as it has done in every other industry,” said Schleicher.

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