Private sector colleges and universities with their market-based, customer focus are poised to increasingly take advantage of significant disruptive forces. These disruptive forces, like individualized and personalized education, are likely to transform education. For a variety of reasons associated with history, prerogative, and tradition, many colleges and universities employ strategies and corresponding structures that seemingly ignore the disruptive nature of transforming forces like the way students can now learn. Already, the higher education sector encompasses a wide array of colleges and universities including traditional public and private colleges and universities along with private sector career colleges and private sector universities.
Some estimate that the global education sector is nearly a $4 trillion industry; it accounts for about 10% of U. S. GDP and is second only to health care in the proportion of U. S. GDP. It is growing rapidly with widespread innovation. Certainly education innovation is coming as a result of the burgeoning role of human capital with the need for increased education and training in a knowledge economy as well as the growing dissatisfaction with college graduation rates, questionable work readiness of graduates, and the costs associated with the avenues and structures associated with traditional higher education.
Growth in private sector enrollment, already the fastest sector of growth in education enrollment, is similarly increasing. Clayton Christensen has argued persuasively that disruptive forces will change the way we learn. The innovators who are benefitting from an understanding of these disruptive forces are market-driven up-starts – who are mostly private sector.