The role and landscape of university / college today and future around the world have changed in a split second tremendously and completely beyond our normal thinking when Allah SWT sent us this tiny invisible coronavirus enough to cause havoc and huge impact on our education, economy, energy, eco-systems and even our environment - magnificent!!!
Gone is the promising future that has been lined up before the coronavirus pandemic for university graduates. Today a major segment of our graduates is still unemployable and it is indeed a grave problem to note and very disappointing indeed. What more, the problem becomes more critical post the coronavirus pandemic. Something drastic and serious needs to be done to fix this problem, especially on the role of future university or else we will face the potential ‘death of university’.
There are eight key points that I would like to touch upon and recommend when it comes to the future of universities post-coronavirus pandemic.
1) In the ‘new norm’ era post-pandemic, you go to college or university not only to make you educated but also help and groom you to be future leaders, entrepreneurs, technocrats and scientists to serve the world, the New World they call it. You look for higher learning institution or university which does not make you a 'job-seeker' anymore but most importantly make you a 'job-creator & job-innovator'. You have got to be fully equipped with the skills & scales and traits & tricks to make you the future leaders who can create more jobs for others.
(Leadership + Job-creator & innovator)
2) You can't afford anymore to go to university that can only produce a scroll for you upon graduation and makes you employee for life and teaches you only to be a good employee to help your superior / boss to make money but you must find a university which teaches you on how to create the opportunity to make money yourself out there in the market - in short, build your own dream before somebody else hires you to build his or her own dream.
(Startup & Entrepreneurship)
3) A 'dying passion' and 'never say no' attitude to create something great that will make a difference to you and others in the future and to possess all the great characteristics and traits in life are what really matter in today's first class quality of education landscape. For that matter, universities and students have got to go through the transformation systematically and strategically to cope up with the evolution of objective and landscape and technological changed post pandemic. Those with the bigger appetite and ideas on technology and innovation will stay ahead of the game and lead the way.
(Technological Evolution & Innovation)
4) Inclusive and good quality education is a foundation for dynamic and equitable societies - we wanted to educate our students who are not only successful at examination and research & development and project management skills and CSR expeditions but most importantly as humans and not robots governed with solid wisdom and virtue at heart. We must be seeking ways to make our students responsible global citizens no matter what - we wanted them to know themselves and the world and take responsible actions to make it a better place to stay and live and contribute. This is where the top leadership at the university i.e. the Chairman of the Board and Vice-Chancellor partnership is extremely key and paramount to the success of universities.
(Global Talent Management with 1st Class Mentality)
5) The power of future education beyond 2020 in the era of supposedly Industrial Revolution (IR 4.0) / Artificial Intelligence (AI) which has been the most talked about for the last two years. It is long recognised by most of the experts in industry that by 2020 nearly two-thirds of all future jobs around the world require all forms of skills and training ‘beyond the classroom’ and hence we must be prepared to react and respond to it smartly and swiftly. This finding and statement were made merely on the basis that IR 4.0 will transform the future industry requirement and become the key catalyst for change in the future. SubhanAllah walhamdullillah at the end, it is not human planning on IR 4.0 but Allah’s planning and testing on humans by sending us this tiny invisible coronavirus that is really shaking and shaping the whole world today, especially on education. Students and teaching staff around the globe have no choice but to revert to the high tech like ICT technology, digitalisation, IoT, AI, e-learning online during the global lockdown to continue to search for the knowledge, knowledge and knowledge for survival in the future New World which nobody knows how it will look like except only Allah SWT.
(Futuristic on Digital Education)
6) There is this syllabus and curriculum mismatch between industry’s needs and academia’s aspirations which need to be addressed seriously. Example in the O&G industry, where the industry is already moving towards deepwater and ultra-deepwater application, whereas some of our universities are still lagging behind in teaching the shallow water development in their syllabus in Engineering Faculty and another good example where the industry is already migrating from a mega land based LNG plant development to a compact Floating Ship LNG but the universities are slow to recapture this into the new Engineering syllabus.
(Skill & Knowledge)
7) There exists the different mindsets and goals between university academia and industry technocrat and sometimes both are living in different worlds. Academia is striving for recognition for sure to add a long title in front of their names while the industry technocrat is striving for survival, swear to death to safeguard the ever challenging industry during major crisis. Look at the current issue of crude oil prices collapse and how the two ‘communities’ reacted to it?
(Wisdom & Virtue)
8) There is this lack of follow up and serious / sincere follow through on the latest industry landscape of change and new technology introduced which supposedly need more focus on skill and practical application knowledge based at site rather than the traditional theoretical knowledge-based type of education in the classroom. Need to learn more from the list of ‘dirty laundries’ picked up during the ‘Execution’ and ‘Follow Through’ mode.
(Planning + Execution + Follow Through)
Moving forward, the future education especially in schools / colleges / universities post coronavirus pandemic will need to have these ‘3 High T’ strategies as a minimum i.e. :
1) High Tech (maximising the ICT technology & digitalisation education i.e. for e-learning & online & IR 4.0 elements). This is extremely important for skill & knowledge development;
2) High Touch (prioritising on moral values & ethics - ikhsan & insan). This is essential for wisdom & virtue development towards building a first-class mentality leadership;
3) High Tip (networking & insider status for first class customers and collaborations connecting the new world wherever they are when it reopens). This is crucial for being a global champion in terms of skill & scale.
Zulkifli Abd Rani is Adjunct Professor at the Muslim University of Morogoro, Tanzania, and Chairman of the EMOG (Energy, Maritime and Oil & Gas) Think Tank.
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