In an era witnessing the greatest technological change since the industrial revolution, a world where over 60% of graduate occupations will be disrupted by automation, are we preparing graduates to succeed through relevant education?
Recent press suggests most certainly not with university attrition rates and relevance being the topic of numerous articles and conference keynotes. Most of that focuses on the problems, but, where are the tangible solutions for students facing what is in many cases, the largest decision of their lives thus far – what do we do when we finish Yr.12?
At the 2016 Universities Australia Higher Education Conference, Dr Simon Eassom’s plenary session titled ‘The Pursuit of Relevance‘ is a brilliant overview and demonstrated an IBM / Economist Intelligence Unit survey taken from over 900 academic and business leaders globally that stated:
- Only 41% believe the current higher ed system is meeting the needs of industry
- 49% believe the system meets the needs of students
- 47% believe the current system is meeting the needs of society
- Only 43% believe higher education is preparing students with the skills they need for the workforce!
“Our report confirmed Australia is undergoing the most significant disruption in the world of work since the industrial revolution, and how we respond has huge implications for the next generation. The shifts in the local and global economy are creating new opportunities for our industries and our way of life, but they also present significant challenges and failure to act will see our nation left behind”.
With these challenges at the forefront of our mind, I’m proud to have launched the Ducere Global Game Changers program in partnership with the University of Canberra and Antipodeans. Launched at schools nationally last week by Ducere Chancellor and Chair, The Hon Julia Gillard, the Game Changers Program combines earning a university degree with overseas entrepreneurial and leadership experiences in Asia and Silicon Valley.
Completed in two years, students will:
- Achieve a Bachelor of Applied Entrepreneurship or Applied Social Entrepreneurship
- Learn from the Ducere Global Leaders Faculty of over 250 Presidents, PM’s, Nobel Laureates, CEO’s and entrepreneurs
- Undertake a 5 week leadership expedition through 5 countries in Asia, culminating in Shanghai
- Build there own ventures as a part of their applied learning with no exams
- Immerse themselves in the worlds leading innovation ecosystem, Silicon Valley, for 3 weeks and pitch their ideas to investors
- Develop an enterprise skill set focused on critical thinking, problem solving, entrepreneurship, leadership and innovation.
I have spent a lifetime counselling, guiding and assisting those transitioning from school to the next phase of life and have always preached the importance of making life decisions based on some form of experience. This is difficult for university students to obtain as their timetables and obligations conflict with the ‘normal’ hours of working in a environment that relates to their chosen pathway. Hence many choose to support themselves through uni with part-time and casual hospitality or retailed based employment. There is nothing wrong with this. But what if university could be structured around a students life?
- Online delivery enables employment opportunities in fields more related to their intended pathways
- Graduates enter the workforce or launch their venture 1, 2 or sometimes 3 years ahead of their peers
- Deeper and lifelong relationships built with other students having collaborated and travelled with them
- Travel costs of the degree can be supported via OS-Help, no up-front costs to students
Why no exams?
Exams in undergraduate programs such as business and commerce are a complete waste of time in my opinion. Applied learning with industry engagement is so much more relevant.
Put it this way, under an examination process, students are asked to demonstrate the knowledge they have either retained or not during a particular unit whilst under pressure. Fine. But I’m yet to find an undergraduate course where the academics sit down with students and teach them the correct answers to the questions they answered incorrectly. Isn’t that where a student would learn the most? Also, that examination paper is put to one side and never referred to again.
Assessment of competence for the Global Game Changers program is via assignments where students apply the learning of any unit to a topic that means more to them. It could be the foundations of there own venture or conducting a business case study on an organisation they dream of working for in the future. How good would that be to demonstrate in a job interview.
Practical and relevant education with productive outcomes, I can’t wait to see how it changes the game.