OUR GLOBAL MANIFESTO: WHAT WOULD A UNIVERSITY LOOK LIKE IF WE HAD TO CREATE ONE FROM SCRATCH?
MANIFESTO: THE FUTURE OF LEARNING
In March 2021, SEK Education Group launched a think tank on “Future & Learning” at which 92 experts and students from around the world came together to reflect on how the university of the 3rd millennium should respond to society’s new needs.
This analysis is an ongoing exercise, open to contributions from the larger community. As a result of this think tank, a framework for discussion was established on how universities should face the challenges posed by COVID and reinvent themselves.
The think tank produced a set of conclusions around the major topics addressed: lifelong learning, campus infrastructures, financing higher education, the school-university transition and others. These conclusions are summarised in the GLOBAL MANIFESTO.
OUR GLOBAL MANIFESTO:
THE FUTURE OF LEARNING
12 discussion points to answer the main question. What would a university be like if we had to create one in the next few years?
The university must be designed putting the learner at the center, aspiring to develop a new form of technology-related humanism for a 21st century renaissance, using an interdisciplinary approach, promoting civic engagement and fostering an entrepreneurial mindset through course co-creation.
COLLABORATIVE, OPEN, ACCESSIBLE UNIVERSITY
The university must be a critical institution that encourages the debate and analysis of divergent ideas and is capable of creating new knowledge based on research and scientific studies. The university must not be constrained by a single world view or a specific way of thinking.
The university’s management model must focus on data to understand the choices of each of its learners and their individual context. Greater knowledge of the student means greater ability to personalise teaching and to anticipate learning needs.
The new unit of measurement is the student. This vision drives the development of flexible learning models, such as educational subscriptions or the modular construction of certified, stackable content that will make possible the creation of personal learning journeys.
Life nowadays requires permanent reinvention, so learning needs to extend throughout life. With this in mind, the university must adapt its teaching model to the life cycle of each student, financing possibilities and opportunities for interaction with the student body, along the life cycle of each student. It therefore becomes a “lifelong learning companion”.
NOMAD CAMPUS & MODELESS UNIVERSITY
The university campus must go beyond its physical infrastructure and must be designed from an open, interactive, hybrid perspective.
THE FUTURE OF WORK AND NEW LEARNING NEEDS
Learning models must be adapted to the needs of the labor market but also to the capacities and interests of students and the demands of our society. The university must respond to growing automation and to the re-skilling, up-skilling and out-skilling needs of the workforce, both in competencies and in research-based knowledge.
NEW TEACHING AND LEARNING ROLES
With new needs and innovative learning models, new professional profiles are also arising. The advancement in learning sciences highlights the importance of excellence in teaching to deliver a transformative learning experience, and the need for cross-disciplinary research to address society’s greatest challenges.
Universities will have to develop an entrepreneurial mindset, testing disruptive and innovative models, scaling and sharing successes, and learning from mistakes. The creation of “sandbox spaces” facilitates the implementation of agile pilot projects, measuring their impact and analyzing their results.
The physical and emotional wellbeing of all members of the learning community becomes a priority. A comprehensive approach is necessary, one in which healthy behaviors that provide emotional balance and physical wellbeing are learned, shared and practiced.
SOCIALLY ENGAGED UNIVERSITY
The new university makes the commitment and takes responsibility for contributing to a more sustainable future through programmes that promote social innovation, a circular economy, values of equity and diversity, and the preservation of the environment.
FREE-THINKING AND CRITICAL UNIVERSITY
The university must be a critical institution that encourages the debate and analysis of divergent ideas and is capable of creating new knowledge based on research and scientific studies. The university must not be constrained by a single world view or a specific way of thinking, regardless of how politically correct it may seem.