The current higher education system is out of date. It needs to go beyond just measuring academic performance. What could be the best way forward to prepare students for the real world?
change + business
In order to equip students with the necessary skills to thrive in a hyper-connected, digital world, the higher education system must incur radical change. As part of this change, there is a clear role for the business community to be more involved with student learning.
Some people say that the higher education system has changed, but I think it’s gone backwards. I see too much emphasis on appraisal methods like traditional examinations. Change is possible, but we must listen to the right voices about the sorts of changes that are needed. Let’s have a dialogue about it. Four aspects to feed the dialogue.
We live in a world where people will live to be over a hundred. Throughout this time people will carry out multiple jobs and reinvent themselves but higher education isn’t yet geared up for that. The future is uncertain. That’s why it is important that we use an interdisciplinary approach that brings multiple courses together. With digital tools and a hyper-connected world, just a few jobs are safe from changing in the next decade. Currently, young people are not best served by expensive degrees. Students are completing four/three-year courses and coming out with unsustainable levels of debt. How could we challenge this status quo?
Skills like leadership and entrepreneurship with an innovative mindset are becoming general competence. A focus on presentation skills, developing things, teamwork and building portfolio, I think, are really important. This doesn’t prevent students from being accepted into good universities. So please challenge the incentivizes to maximize for exam results. How could we design a learning space that matters?
The debate about how the pedagogical practices are changing to balance the curriculum with pressing issues such as global warming or sustainable development goals (SDG) is growing. The emphasise is not about what is taught, but rather how it is taught, as learning starts from real problems, genuinely doing something that can make a difference in the world.
Teachers should encourage students to be active agents rather than remain in passive roles. Higher education must be student-centered.
engage with educators
There is no easy way to attain the change needed within the higher educational system. I see a clear role for the business and working community to be involved with students more to help create a platform for life-long learning. Business people often found the perspective of many students to be remarkably insightful. Encouraging collaboration also creates great value for businesses, but this is a complex issue and we have only scratched the surface. The context of the rapid pace of change and the advent of the 100-year life means we need to move fast to ensure resilience and success in the future.
The enthusiasm and inspiring thinking from many people inside and outside higher education are really encouraging. After all, education is one of the most important levers we can turn to create a more equitable and purposeful society.