The following article deals with the topic “Redefining Universities” , which is currently discussed at the Global Economic Symposium in Rio. The author intends to enrich the discussion at the symposium with her personal stories and ideas.
The Redefining Universities Panel brings two mega-trends for the Global Economic Symposium: individualization and massification in Higher Education.
Massification it’s not the right solution, maybe it’s the first solution arrived at in order to quickly cover the hole of lower education levels in mainly developing countries. A research study prepared by the group BOX1824, a Brazilian company that specializes in trends and consumer behavior (between 18 and 24 years old) has launched a search proving that this generation is seeking not just money, but also a meaningful job, that is to say, work that fills the heart with passion. Since, generally, this is the Brazilian generation most enrolled in universities, we can’t say that what they want is just good value for money, or as it also means, massification.
(You can see BOX1824 research here: We all want to be young.) As a panelist said, “Most universities around the world still strive for the same goal: to be a globally well-known research institution” and what are those universities doing to engage the students on achieving it? “There isn’t any investments in research about what students learn on universities”, another panelist commented, about what is really effective for them and about their knowledge acquired, that means, what do they really bring for professional life.
During this discussion the panel repeatedly returned its focus to online degree courses. How is the professional market for these students? Are they getting employed? Are they simply stacking up credits without getting any return on their education? For sure it isn’t. Universities have to look to the Internet as a new social good, for every place, all over the world that can have Internet access. And this also means that those who live economically and geographically away from the progress will continue in this situation; but that is another problem.
However, how to value and guarantee a good academic course on a free media outlet like the Internet? It’s necessary to have specific, transparent and individual assistance for the students, professors, and those involved at online universities. The course quality control comes together with this.
“Are employers going to recognize skills learned online? ” “What is the appropriated level certification for internet diploma?” Many questions come across the one hour and fifteen minutes panel and the solutions for these are taking their steps on GES 2012.
But one panelist answer is true and we just need to face it: “Most universities are concerned in transmitting values and not in creating values.” Education is not just taking four years of courses, it’s about carrying your education with you for life, like a tattoo inked in mind and spirit.