Economist Radio - The Economist Asks: Janet Napolitano

The world’s universities face a new academic year like no other. Anne McElvoy asks Janet Napolitano, until recently president of the sprawling University of California system, whether higher education can pass the test of covid-19. Can universities survive without legions of high-paying international students, and convince increasingly sceptical young people that their degrees are worth the investment? Please subscribe to The Economist for full access to print, digital and audio editions: www.

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The world universities face and you academic. Yeah, like no other the students covid-19 is making life difficult many must choose between seminars stream David OG internet connections and putting that studies and then my life on hold until further notice for academic institutions. It's disastrous the losing vital revenue from foreign students and they need to transform how they operate to protect those who make it to campus.

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I just do that relations between the west and China the biggest source of high-paying International students a souring and students themselves are increasingly skeptical that that hardened degrees of a good value for money.

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Videos of subsidies in Bloomington, Maryland University's through this change, but this is the moment of Reckoning you listening to The Economist asks, I'm Anne mcelvoy and this week we're asking and higher education pasta covid-19 test.

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My guest is Janet Napolitano a professor of public policy at the University of california-berkeley. He's just finished seven years as president of the University of California system network of 10 compasses over a quarter-million students and almost as many stuff before that. She was Secretary of Homeland Security on the Barack Obama the first woman to hold that office, but she also serves as a tiny General and then governor of Arizona Senate vote on a recessional has a sum of Nationwide protests and on the verge of a particularly significant election. You can talk if you lost yours president of the University of California system. What's the defining moments for you? There are so many but I think the most defining moment won't come as a surprise and that was the day in.

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March when we realize that we all had to go into quarantine and we had to shut the campuses down and convert to online instruction to finish out the term that those of us and administration had to begin working from our home and we've been in the process of making the difficult decision about what to do with the fall term, but that day in March Houston. I Will Always remember when my assistant came into my office and said we need to shut down and move home and a new academic should form Harvard with highest percentage of students because we tested every three days not signed contracts note to have guests in their dorms. Does that strike you as a sensible compromise you have any concerns as part of the experience?

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In the classroom in the dining hall in the dormitories and then you're dealing with a particular age group write 18 to 22 year olds off and living away from home for the first time. It's an exciting time and and it's a time that just cannot be 100% replicated during a pandemic. So adjustments need to be made now different campuses across the United States are doing different things many like the University of California going to be pretty much fully remote others like Purdue University and Indiana are having students come back with various requirements and we'll have to see what did those requirements that they're imposing are sufficient enough to prevent an outbreak. What about the quality of that online professional studies of secondary schooling around the world learning widens education jobs between the rich and poor.

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Students choosing between white students and there's of color which of course is particularly Salient Topic in the u.s. And Beyond right now all you confident that delivering online education degree to scale for students can avoid that trap or at least be aware of how my deal with it during this. Our campuses have no we purchased dozens and dozens of Wi-Fi hotspots for students who don't have access to the internet. We've purchased hundreds and hundreds of the right kinds of laptop. So that students have the right kind of technology and we're working to how we actually offer either small group or personal academic support to students or public university and and we really do have a commitment for inclusion providing a top-flight education.

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A broad array of students. So for example some 44% of our students are the first in their families to go to college and almost 40% or what we call Pell Grant eligible meaning they come from very low economic status families. So one of the things we've been working on is the time to degree in graduation rate for students from those two categories so that they are a matching the time to degree and graduation rate of pay their wealthier appears. We know that we're going to have to intervene proactively if we're going to continue that progress picture every year around 5 million International students travel to study at University City in America and Britain in the year.

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2006 is year in which new foreign students wouldn't be able to enter the US have moved online. The very soon prayer about lasting Administration is retinal to renew the Visas of students ready in the u.s. What do you think of the place? We've landed in historically have been Talent magnets for the world bringing thousands upon thousands of students to live here to be educated here many remain to work here and even when they return to their home countries, they returned with a greater understanding of the United States, which I think is helpful for so-called soft diplomacy that faucet is now drying up and in addition to their value of bringing diversity of experience in perspective to our universities.

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National students also bring you know fair amount of money and and that funds source is is drying up. So dependent ID number British universities. You become other dependent on having laptop coming through students the combination of the trade war with China at toughening in Beijing and devars means is very unlikely to see Chinese students back its scale in the American system is absolutely true and for public universities in the United States, you know, I think yes, there has been a dependence on the revenue that International students bring with them. Obviously. We are going to sustain the quality of the Public University Systems in the United States that revenue is going to have to be replaced somehow hopefully through a state.

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Appropriations because I certainly think raising tuition is not an option has been dwindling in the body can get from the public coffers finest Public University system in the world yet. It is a continual battle to get adequate funding to support what we do at the scale with which we do it. You know, I think when the University of California was founded there was this great spirit that this was a an important investment for the state to make and that it was to the common good to make that investment. I fear that we've lost that sense of the university is a common good

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If I sign into my own it would be nice. If you can see it popping up everywhere. Now in the day says really going to be One Direction. We seeing a high proportion of students still not graduating Nursing degree. The wage premium has been shrinking in Britain. It was serious report note to go to university at also have universities and colleges being sufficiently self critical about their own city of California. So 6-year graduation rate is close to 90% And are 4-year graduation rate is it's around 70 to 75% So when students at the University of California, they're going to graduate and they're going to graduate with a degree that translates into

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Income so that within five years of graduating our students who come from the lowest quintile of economic wealth of of their families within 5 years of graduating. They're making close to five times what their parents made and that that wage development increases over the length of their career spell ever a sector higher education is not self critical enough and doesn't challenge itself enough as to how it can provide more access better content delivery better outcomes for a greater and more diverse population. I agree with you on that. Are you the college education because I didn't even describe the kind of thinking that it's that many of us would be subscribed to education would be affected. Which Unity info overcoming

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Black households in the US with head soup from PC to college degree and white headed by someone who is high school fidget power to change individual outcomes particular cell linked to racial inequality scroll racism that black families have far less accumulated wealth. They have much lower percentage of home ownership that go on that get a four-year college degree is much lower than the percentage in their population particularly amongst black males. That's a real problem because I actually think the one tried-and-true tactic that has been used in the United States to address the issue of income inequality has been this great sister.

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Public universities available every state of the United States, but for reasons, we don't really understand and need to understand black students are not taking advantage of those public institutions. And even when they do their outcomes are are not as great as to your point. I think it's unfair e valid point. What about the future of where can we leave written into the exits have all this extra Revolution and the impact of Animation 2D exponential growth in computational power teaching the right subject for future where I can I got a question that's just become even more of a princess house it noted at the time when we're looking at a really difficult time even in the ritual didn't fall Beyond.

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Boys need to be seeing around the corner. I'll give you an example. The rise of so-called Big Data big data is is revolutionary in terms of the power that it help to inform science. We now have established a big data and those students are going to be snapped up in a nanosecond when they graduate because that skill-set is highly valuable. That's one way at which universities can educate and Empower their students to help drive the economy for me in terms of that kind of violence about college education versus other kinds of training and education this particular.

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Suicide in the in the movie of people who would not otherwise it. Might be thinking, you know, I'm going to go for a different form of training or education and flexible. It's really kind of Community College will Rats the four-year degree students graduate with when they have a four-year degree is the ability to not only perform a competency, but to be creative to be able to work in teams to be able to put things in the historical and cultural context greater understanding of the world in which they find themselves that you know combined with confidence. He's make them prepared to be fully active as the Next Generation takes our place.

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To depose an actively oppose cancel culture is very focused on what she sees is a debate in the universe has me stymied being to limit the number of Unthinkable son say about being seen to it to Societies in University Heights does Free Speech need more of a defense on campus some of our campuses. We've had speakers many students find objectionable for their views and we've actually had to spend money to provide more security for those speakers, but in my view and in the view of our Chancellor's that, you know free speech is not free and students need to hear different points of view and at the answer. Jacksonville speech is not censorship but indeed it's more speech. It's reputational speech campuses ought to be very Lively debating grounds.

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That's in part of what they were designed to be. So to the extent that there is an aspect of this that is labeled cancel culture. I think that runs counter to what in in my view is one of the values of a university class around 36% of high school graduates in California Latino University admissions this phrase Inspire summoned horrifies others in California from a ballot measure that was passed some 20 some-odd years ago in California. We have actually been precluded from considering race ethnicity or gender in making admissions decisions and the rib

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Kill of that band is on our ballot and I support it because when we look at a student for admission with trying to evaluate whether the student can handle the academics of a challenging University curriculum, but also what kind of contribution they can make to the university community and so we look at 14 differ in the only Factor. We can't look at is a student's race ethnicity or gender with your kind of central to a student's identity as such an artificial limitation and delimitation should be removed. You know, what I'm very curious about. It's part of something that is on my mind looking into the future looks very different time different universities should be if I said in 10 years time fee, stay relevant.

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It is still to be efficient and to be part of the measure of American Prosperity. What will be very obviously different differences will be the greater availability of online coursework and perhaps even the ability to actually heard and University of California did agree totally online. And I think when you think of it that way you can also begin to think different ways of access to the university. So, you know students today are going to face a rapidly changing job market. They're likely to have 10 or 12 jobs over the course of my career maybe even more and perhaps the ability to come back and refresh and learn new content.

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Over the course of their livelihoods will be in Evolution for us kind of a iuc for Life approach that once you're in you're in and you get your initial degree and then if you need or want to come back you have that kind of automatic access we should turn to your previous job. I think it different contact you as sexy feminine security and that was during the H1 N1 a crisis since we moved on and pandemics you seem to have become even more serious. You was supposed to be responsible for coordinating Federal response know that silly bean mistakes made in all courses in the past month. But what do you think would not make the biggest difference to improving the US response to the pandemic?

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Well, I won't be shy about it. I think the thing that will improve our responses a new president. I think the lack of leadership from the White House has been actually fatal. I think there was no reason why the United States should have a hundred and seventy thousand deaths and a total economic shut down due to the coronavirus, but for the fact that the administration was slow to the ball down play the virus has been inconsistent as to what and how it would use its authorities has undermined science all the way through I has provided inadequate an inaccurate information to the population and that has made what was a a a new virus a serious virus a challenging virus such a note.

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Whelming disaster for the United States, files would say she would say that wouldn't she you know, they always at 2 to get us in trouble cuz down and Drake is President trouble. So it's not very different responses to the pandemic Springs to mind. If you like Nikki designated in times of the weaknesses that we've seen, you know, the United States is is you know, one of the world's great Powers Frank play with tremendous influence around the world and that influence has I think waned during the the Trump Administration.

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And you know instead of being an example of how to manage a pandemic. It's been an example of how not to manage a pandemic and things that affect other countries, you know, the the withdrawal from the World Health Organization, for example serve no purpose other than to emphasize that the United States as a country has been retreating from that kind of world leadership offices Border Protection officers to peace protest in Portland, Oregon Weatherby flashpoints recently and elsewhere powers and can you purchase a hand on heart? That would be no other Administration in which it would be tempting in a situation that you could get out of control and could

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Threaten lives and well-being that Homeland Security forces would be used in Portland first for DHS to send in heavily armed agents. You know, these are many of them are bortac agencies are agents that work along the Southwest border that do heavy duty drug cartel and gun smuggling kind of work and to move them up to Portland where there were protests that were primarily peaceful. But yeah, they were putting graffiti on a federal building and things of that sort over the objection of the local mayor over the state's Governor that to me was over you and from a law enforcement perspective. Just I'm an operational evaluation. It was actually not an effective operation. In fact it exacerbated the number of protesters.

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And the Miss behaviors of some of the protesters and the way you can measure that is once they agreed to stand back the protests, you know, turn to kind of a kind of a normal level and in Portland in Portland kind of known for having a protest culture so that there's always a little bit of noise up there. But just from a an evaluative standpoint. It didn't do any good except that it gave President Trump, you know kind of a political I'm a going to be the Law & Order president kind of argument crisis people. You see as a possible solution to structural racism and violence in policing do these arguments have any Merit?

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Phone to them. Well, I think Vine already has responded that he does not support their funding the police and I think he's right about that. I think for an ordered Society you do need police presence. I think the real question is, how are police officers recruited? How are they trained? How are they supervise? What are their operational parameters? What are the rules? They have to follow can we do more with respect to use of force? Should we do more with respect to disciplining officers who violate their own rules. I believe the answer to all of those questions is is yes, but I think the fun the police is is just unrealistic unworkable and and it's an unfortunate label for what I think really is meant which is to reform the

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I just the same day for the Department of Homeland Security because we've had some pools that includes is it to be dismantled or checks? Would you want to see brought in on it? Its powers that would outlive the Rhapsody reaction to the Trump Administration and the alleged abuse has well one thing that has happened under the Trump Administration that I think needs to be repaired is that the Department of Homeland Security actually has its own office of civil rights and civil liberties and that office was designed to evaluate at the outset and he contemplated DHS action that would implicate civil rights and civil liberties and to advise the secretary as to that so that the secretary

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You don't make adjustments and either change the proposal withdraw it or what have you and we use that office quite a bit when I was secretary under President Obama that office has basically been denuded under President Trump's I don't go to any effective civil rights or civil liberties evaluation that goes on EHS now and I think restoring that and emphasizing its importance and ensuring that the head of that office has a direct report to the secretary. I think that would send a strong message about to cool that's code for gardening maybe something Beyond podcast.

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I think I was on the money that the UC Berkeley School of public policy.

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A run for political office or indeed some remedies that you might have your eye on the US Supreme Court's they write my intent is to establish a new center on the study of security and politics at Berkeley. I also however, if I can be helpful to the Bynum campaign will willingly chip in you know, I want my voice to be heard. I think I have a variety of experiences on a variety of issues that are pertinent to the campaign and to a new Administration and and I want to be able to to help there who may be the one thing you wish event at University. I'll be very specific. I wish I had studied and learned more about China because China has only grown.

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And importance in relevance in so many different fields around the globe and I I think like most Americans. I I just don't have a deep enough understanding there. I wish I had actually studied it. Thank you very much.

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I would love to know what you think. How should higher education be reformed in these days of whom will Canyons Home Learning life lessons from your student days in the distant past right twist radio is economist.com. You can treat us an economist radio and some more about John does deep dive into the future of higher education of the Cove it to subscribe economist.com stash podcast over the links in the show notes. And one more ask week. Really appreciate a rating on Apple. It does help us. Shows. I'm a cowboy and in London, this is the economist.

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