In The Future I Will ______________: The Future Of Universities

In the future, I will try to change how universities teach, to make students better prepared for the industry. The need to transform courses to meet the expectations of the industry is real and it is fueled all the more by the unrealistic expectations or standards set by the industry. The chicken and egg problem here is that, even for entry level positions, employers demand experience, but how does one gain experience without a job? The problem is that firms these days do not want to invest on training because experienced professionals are readily available, causing higher unemployment rates among fresh graduates. This is partly because of unrealistic industry standards and timelines, but universities do play a role in this as well.

Courses taught at universities are not particularly targeted towards skill development, because of lack of practical experience. If courses try to incorporate real-life industry based situations or case based learning in other words, things will start improving. Besides that, universities must promote industrial collaboration so that students get an insight into how things really work. This will also instill confidence among members of the industry with respect to hiring fresh graduates. This in turn will attract more investment in the universities for preparing students to be ready for the challenges ahead.

For example, in case of Computer Science or Computer Engineering, once students are done taking basic courses, there should be a course available, that wraps up the knowledge of all the courses to build a website for example, covering backend, frontend and database aspects of the discipline. This not only provides students with a hands-on experience, employing Project-Based Learning, but also sums up the usage of their previous knowledge.

The other side of the coin in this case is credential requirement inflation. Firms need to lower their requirements for entry level jobs so that fresh graduates stand a chance against experienced professionals. For firms to do this, universities will have to directly cater to their needs by tailoring courses according to industry standards. This does not mean that universities neglect the academic aspect, since not everyone is inclined towards industry and pedagogy is as important as the practical aspect.

At the end, I would like to conclude that universities and the industry should work hand-in-hand to nurture a system of education that benefits the community as a whole, promoting skill development and improving employability for fresh graduates.

2 Replies to “In The Future I Will ______________: The Future Of Universities”

  1. Hi Sahil,
    Thanks for sharing your ideas, it is very interesting.
    I think that universities should provide more “learning-by-doing” classes, which are close to skill development classes that you discussed. Let me share my thought about “learning-by-doing” classes and their pros and cons.
    Pros:
    These classes allow students to observe, discuss, and understand what is happening. Many students are more successful when they learn by example.
    Also, they motivate students to do things independently for themselves, which might be very useful later. I believe this way is more useful comparing with the classes where students only learn facts and make to learn these facts by heart.
    Cons:
    Unfortunately, very often “learning-by-doing” classes (and skill development classes as well) give students only the main idea of how something works, without emphasizing the details.
    In addition, sometimes it might be very costly to demonstrate how things really work.
    Anyway, I believe that “learning-by-doing” and skill development education is more efficient when it is combined with traditional classes.

  2. Hi Sahil,
    Thanks so much for writing this post on the “bottleneck” of employment prospects for university graduates. A crisis, for sure! I agree that practical skill-building within academia–coupled with more robust university-industry partnerships–could lead to better employment prospects for graduates. But what about the purposes of higher education beyond skill-building for employment in industry? How might instruction aimed at fostering a critical gaze on industry practices benefit students, too? Also, I think the scenario you accurately depict could be improved by bold instruction in entrepreneurship, so graduating students aren’t reliant on external employers for a job. Doing so would cultivate empowerment and autonomy among graduates to build the jobs and organizations they envision rather than sculpt themselves to the desires of an employer. Thanks for this! I enjoyed reading your piece.

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