Context, university and market: considerations for a new post-covid-19 direction

Without a doubt the reflection we are about to share is important and necessary in a world that was surprised by a pandemic that has changed our immediate environment, that has modified our way of living, thinking, working, consuming, and making decisions about the future.

Focusing our gaze on Higher Education, we, free essay writers, can say that it must rethink the future of its substantive actions: teaching, research, and dissemination of culture, as well as the goals it pursues.

In the following lines, I will share a series of ideas and questions that are intended to become material for initiating the reflection of educational communities. I hope that this can contribute to defining the direction of educational institutions, especially those of a higher level.

The context

Our local and global environment has changed and this has implications for higher education. Some questions we can ask the boards of directors of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are:

  • What should the university offer that the student does not get by other means?
  • What will need to be transformed: the classrooms, the whole campus, the processes, the curricula, the educational methods and models?
  • How will students be able to move to their schools?
  • Should the way teachers and administrators work be changed?

It is a fact that the new environment requires HEIs to be reconverted into safe institutional environments for the entire university community, which implies thinking about well-adapted, spacious, ventilated spaces with new rules for moving around inside the buildings. It will also be important to take advantage of the new learning of the so-called work at home and to consider that part of the curriculum should migrate at a distance or online, in order to avoid the physical presence of all students and teachers, but this should be accompanied by the results of a census showing the technological capacity that students and teachers have. Undoubtedly, HEIs should invest more in technology and less in building physical infrastructure.

With the dizzying rush that we have been living with, we all begin to present problems of stress and syndromes such as burnout, which can be reduced by working at home, since teachers and collaborators will be able to avoid commuting hours and learn to organize themselves at home, eat healthier and be able to have more family life, in order to have adequate performance and avoid the emergence of other new stressors.

Another aspect that will have to undergo enormous transformations is administrative management; an IES that does not carry out a re-engineering of processes will definitely not be able to function in the new context. This transformation implies the creation of electronic applications, efficient web sites and intranet that allow the entire university community to make payments, school procedures, delivery and reception of documents, and to carry out labor procedures, payroll, and administrative processes necessary according to their function. This will avoid having to go to the institution and will make it more efficient for internal and external users.

University

Teaching must be transformed to achieve adaptable and flexible teachers, with a high level of pedagogical competence mediated by technology, with the capacity to implement different active teaching methodologies and with adequate preparation to carry out learning evaluations according to pedagogical changes. It will also be important to redefine the student's entrance profile, preparing him/her for the new circumstances in which he/she will have to function: more autonomous learning, less directed by the teacher, but more challenging to formulate and create viable and feasible proposals according to his/her professional training.

HEIs should give a strong impulse to research since them should emanate the body of scientists in all areas, which will allow facing the needs of the current and future world. Therefore, training in the hard sciences should be strongly promoted, but equally the social sciences should be strengthened, since this will generate the future scientists, specialists with whom the country will be able to face the future challenges.

The dissemination of culture should also be transformed into virtual environments, continuing with the development of library and archive collections in digital format, creating a memory of the various sources of culture that can be visited both in-person and digitally. Consider the conversion of the presentation of plays, concerts, and other artistic and cultural expressions with a face-to-face and virtual option.

Market

It will definitely be very necessary for HEIs to redefine their curricula, analyzing the different professions to be trained for the future, their graduation profiles, and the duration of their curricula, as well as the educational models that should be adopted to achieve the required training. Undoubtedly, the focus on competencies will continue to be important to consider, since specialized and generic competencies will be a good basis for professional practice in any area.

The labor market will change indefinitely, as the world is transforming faster and young professionals will have to be prepared to develop in transformative and uncertain environments, with a high capacity for adaptation and good development of creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.

The management

The directors of educational institutions should be men and women with a broad vision, with a high capacity for innovation and transformation.

The traditional and hierarchical models of management will have little chance of surviving in a world where needs and problems require quick, innovative solutions, the result of the work of talented teams that are capable of solving situations and foreseeing others.

We will certainly never reach a perfect world, but we will reach one more prepared to act and respond, as well as to anticipate.

What we have experienced through this global pandemic has shown us that education is the basis for an individual to be able to understand what is happening and to act accordingly.

Certainly the phrase: "if you think education is expensive, try ignorance" is compelling.

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