I read the article titled, “4 ways universities are driving Innovation” by the World Economic Forum. The synopsis of this article boils down to 4 trends namely, Fostering Entrepreneurship, Encouraging collaboration with the private sector, Promoting diversity and inclusion and Exploring the nexus of technology and society.
I would like to pose my opinion on these four trends. Fostering entrepreneurship is perhaps a leading trend in the major universities as well as the low ranked ones. Living in a capitalist society today where money is a serious motivation behind any activity, bringing the idea of creating monetary opportunities through incubators for startups is perhaps a great way of exposing learners to the real world. Education today especially due to such entrepreneurial motivation changes the whole purpose of learning: education is no longer limited to grades and managing to obtain a job, rather, people are now motivated in thinking out of the box as to what sort of application could their knowledge be invested in so that it could generate revenue. This is real and the purpose is real which is why education can have a greater impact while learning and the seriousness of what courses one takes and the time and effort one puts into the subject seems driven.
By developing relation with the private sector, students get a better idea of what is happening in the world and what people “out there” are really upto. It gives a a direction of how one can enhance the activities of the world in a very pragmatic perspective. One can align their research accordingly and know their market well which is an essential because it gives crucial feedback.
At the same time, making the world a smaller place is an important objective. It helps people grow as humans, become more appreciative and accepting by including diversity. It is a great way to break racial and ethnic barriers.
Finally, exploring the nexus of technology and society is the next great trend. This is perhaps one of the pivotal changes in modern education where a relation between the “application of education” to the “process of learning” has a clear connection. Careful analysis of the society and structuring education programs accordingly is an essential. In a society where one needs revenue to survive, the university is responsible to provide education that can actually help the students land with jobs rather than investing their time in a field that is outdated or perhaps too much into the future that the society does not really require at this point of time.
All these trends are truly leading modern learning to a progressive path and indeed, the results are quite clear. For example, competitions like Hyperloop and the Self driving cars or Baja/Supra help engineers to actually invest their ideas in real world challenges bringing them much closer to what they might be doing after they graduate while still studying. Clarity of the future helps better decision making and planning and the current education system is indeed helping all students in this way.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this!