Higher Education for a Hyper-Connected World

The world has become a global knowledge society of interconnected and interdependent human activity that increasingly shares common ways to communicate and interact. The world has become more homogeneous at the global level, but still remains highly heterogeneous at the local level.

hyper-connected world

The emerging global knowledge society, facilitated mainly by international trade and travel and ubiquitous global communications such as internet and wireless based technologies, is a space of hyper-connected human activity. People increasingly interact with each other on a regular basis, irrespective of physical space and time boundaries. It is a hyper-connected network where everything is quickly becoming connected to everything else.

So, an important question is: How should higher education respond to this new world in terms of better preparing students to live more effectively within it?
The growing interdependence of nations through international networks has created a brave new global knowledge society where more and more human activity is intertwined through associated relationships.

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global knowledge society

Also, higher education has become the de facto vehicle for providing formal learning opportunities to people at every stage of their lives. In light of their role in a highly globalised world, many higher education institutions are now building global institutions.

Global higher education institutions and universities are some of the most internationally connected organisations on the planet. They help to facilitate the global flow of knowledge, students and are one of the chief catalysts in increasing the global spread of new innovations and scientific discoveries.

Most higher education institutions now operate at multiple levels (global, regional, national and local) and they must figure out how to do this in the most integrated way possible. They must learn how to compete and collaborate at the same time. As such, global higher education institutions are being transformed from tertiary education institutions into lifelong learning institutions and the global knowledge economy is being transformed into a global knowledge society.

lifelong learning

Lifelong education helps to develop human capacity by instilling in each person a greater amounts of knowledge, skills and agency. So people can create more meaningful lives for themselves. It also creates the possibility to better adapt to a world that is increasingly characterised by risk, uncertainty and fluidity. All else being equal, universal lifelong and life-wide education puts the human race in a better position to more effectively address the world’s most difficult problems.

quality assurance

Because higher education, in one form or another, is now open to virtually anyone who wishes to participate in it, it has naturally put pressure on the institutions to maintain high quality standards. As a result, quality assurance in higher education has become one of the top issues and concerns.

Higher education finds itself in a situation where they must prepare students with knowledge and skills for jobs that may not yet exist. But how does an institution do this in a world that has become increasingly hyper-specialised?

They must produce students who are both generalists and specialists at the same time. This requires equipping students with both broad and specialised knowledge bases and a range of competencies that are better suited to an increasingly complex and hyper-connected world. This is a big challenge and a great one. That’s why I’m working hard to make learning awesome and significant.

 

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