Global Higher Education for the 21st Century

1. Tomorrows Higher Education will be striving to align with the changing employment opportunities and the shape and type of new millennium jobs. The job of the future is going to have an impact on the kind of Tertiary Education that can prepare the community of students for the world of work.

2. Diverse forces are going to play a major role in shaping the future Higher Education such as forces of globalization, intensity of competition, economic trends, technological innovation and environmental aspects.

3. Higher Education is planned to make it available in more flexible and innovative forms to enable lifelong learning.  This become essential for deepening skills and reskilling as the old occupations disappear.

4. Future Education does not merely prepare students for jobs that might be on offer, but stimulate them to see the possibilities for innovation, and creation of their own jobs.

5. Tomorrows world is going to be flooded with information and dominated by digital form of communication. Future Education will imbibe new skills in analyzing and interpreting the world flooded with data.

6. In a multicultural world, Future Education will focus diverse aspects such as cultural competence……..cross cultural communication…….digital communication?

7. Key generic skills acquisition is going to be the trend of future education such as communication skills, writing skills, etc….to facilitate effective team work – creative linkages across disciplines and specializations – and also higher levels of numeracy skills that will become necessary for many new occupations. Yes, tomorrows graduates are going to have both disciplining depth and broad range of generic capabilities.

8. Future Education is going to have the view that students do not learn by sitting passively in lectures, but by engaging in activities that help them understand which technologies, methods and creative practices can provoke innovation and thereby develops skills in team collaborations, visualizations, modeling, etc…in the domain of creativity and innovation.

9. Tomorrows Education will be giving greater focus and priority in teaching and curriculum design – so as to result the boundaries between educational institution and the outside world more closer and porous.

10. With the recent introduction of MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) movement that facilitates openness that enables student’s access to education. It is going to re align higher education for 21st century learner through multi access learning. In multi access learning, the learner at the center with the ability to choose how he/she wants to access the course – such as multi access in the face to face group, blended group, in the remote group,  the online group, etc. The educational mandate is going to support access to courses for 21st century learner via alternative means.

11. Future Educational design will follow the norms such as – ‘Good Education begins with clarity’ – ‘Good Education prepares students for life in the real world’ – ‘Real world is ever more interconnected and interdependent.

12. Tomorrows Education is going to focus more on developing global skills to become globally competent. Global competency means knowledge and skills people need to understand today’s flat world and to integrate across disciplines, comprehend global events, and create possibilities to address them.

13. Tomorrows Education does focus skill sets to interact peacefully, respectfully, productively, and effectively with fellow beings from diverse geographies. Refer  quote. ‘our world is not a stable one and students are ill served  by a curriculum that assume that the shape of things today is all the needs to understand in order to engage with political, socio economic and technological landscape of tomorrows. Students  needs skills to match the world’s speed’ . (Harvard University (2007)- report of the task force on general education).

14. The challenge of devising courses for tomorrows world is attracting keen attention in many countries. The ‘Bologna Process’, an ambitious international project to align degree structures has changed the shape of higher education in Europe and influenced universities around the world. Leading institutions in the Asia, UK and US have conducted recent major reviews of their academic programs. Several Australian universities are currently restructuring their course.

15. University of Western Australia brought major reviews on academic standards to reach out recognitions – badge of excellence. Refer:

  • Educated – provided not only with specific disciplinary expertise and employability skills, but also with a broader understanding that prepares them resourcefully for life and work in a changing and culturally diverse environment.
  • Enquiring – Able to bring to every new challenge – an open but critical mind accomplished in analyzing and interpreting information, discovery, knowledge and seeking wisdom.
  • Eloquent – Equipped with outstanding capability as clear, logical and powerfully communicators who are highly articulate in oral and written forms of English language.
  • Engaged – Linked strongly to local national and international communities in a spirit of ethical participation, social service and responsible leadership.

16. Future courses are to be structured to provide path ways that enable students to make a considered choice about their focus and preferred profession or academic orientation.

17. Future Higher Education will strengthen the research intensive culture with a student centered community of learning. Also it will increase international linkages by most of the educational institutions by enlarging opportunities and support arrangements for study abroad.

18. Higher Education of tomorrow will simplify and standardize the frame work of degrees and courses to create much greater transference and flexibility.

19. Every Educational Institutions of tomorrow will organize periodical formal and informal course reviews in response to a rapidly changing and increasingly global education and work force environment. The structural changes in diverse courses are necessary as there are strengths to develop, problems to solve, opportunities to pursue and risks to mitigate.

20. Future Education Will prepare students for global civility and peace. Good Education begins with clarity of purpose. The primary purpose should be to prepare students for life in the real world in their communities and societies. Education must provide basic orientation to face planetary challenges as climate change, health epidemics, Global poverty, Global economic recession, trade imbalances, Assault on human rights, Terrorism, Political instability and international conflicts. Also orient towards planetary opportunities for global  collaboration in areas of science and technology, art and literature, trade and commerce and international co-operation. These challenges and opportunities do define the contours of our life. It will facilitate students to become globally competent in addition to developing global skills.

21. Future Education will facilitate Organization of Partnership for 21st century skills – with coalition of educators, business community and government leaders. Global awareness skill is one of the core skills to be mastered – along with information and communication skills, thinking and problem solving skills, interpersonal and self direction skills, financial, economic, business, literacy, entrepreneurship and civic literacy. Global awareness is the ability to understand global issues, learn and work with people from diverse cultures, understand the culture of other countries.

22. Higher Education In the 21st century must be inclusive. It should be available to all who can benefit from it and who want to have an experience. The curriculum for a quality 21st century higher education must be broad and diverse. Quality higher education in 21st century will require excellent facilitating who have the academic freedom and institutional support they need to do a professional job. Quality Education will incorporate technologies in a way that expand opportunity and maintain quality. It will require the pursuit of real efficiencies and avoidance of false economies. It will also require adequate public funding. Quality education in the 21st century cannot be identified with a simplistic set of metrics.

23. The anticipated goals for 21st century education are:

  •  Learning……………Engaging and empowering
  • Assessment………Measuring what matters
  • Teaching…………..Preparing and connecting
  • Infrastructures………..Accessing and enabling
  • Productivity………………Redesigning and transforming

24. Transformation trends – 21st century education

  • Student centered design
  • Quality learning outcomes
  • Infrastructural supports
  • Complex learning environment
  • Blended learning

 25. Strategies and reforms – 21st century education

  • Comprehensive assessment……..creative means
  • Project based learning……………….explore real world problems
  • Integrated studies………………Interdisciplinary learning that Combine too or more areas of study)
  • Social and emotional learning…….skills to manage emotional
  • Learner driven learning………Emerging knowledge environment for learning society
  • Integrative blended learning…….in diverse ways such as face to face     learning, online learning, visual learning, interactive learning, experiential learning, self learning, net learning.

26. Skill Sets………21st century education

  • Communication skill…….in mother tongue and foreign language
  • Mathematical competence
  • Digital competence
  • Social and Civic Competence
  • Entrepreneurship Skills
  • Cultural awareness      
  • Problem solving skills
  • Independent learning skill
  • Flexibility and team working skill
  • Thinking skills (analytical)         
  • New types of learning – 21st century education

27. Participatory/Collaborative learning

  • Critical thinking based learning
  • Problem based learning
  • Transmissive learning
  • Inter disciplinary learning
  • Discovery  learning
  • System thinking based learning
  • Disciplinary learning
  • Multi stake holder social  learning

28. Society of learning – 21st century education

  • Learned centered………like other social institutions
  • Affordable…………..within the resources of our citizens
  • Lifelong learning……willingness to learn for advanced education
  • Interactive and collaborative……anytime, anywhere, any place learning using digital means.
  • Diverse…….needs and goals
  • Intelligent and adapting…….. foster new learning environmental

29. Sustainable Education: 21st century education to facilitate learning and skills for sustainable development based on a vision of the world – prudent use of natural resources and maintenance of high and stable levels of economic growth and employment.

30. The 21st century education is to ultimately ensure individuals to have the right knowledge and skills they need to enable them to grasp the right opportunity and innovations in a rapidly changing and interconnected world of market places, communication, social and environmental challenges.

31. Evolving Campus Social Responsibility (CSR) in line with Corporate Social Responsibility. The changing times do demand new social contracts between the society and institutions of higher education.

About the Author

M.S.R Dev

M S R Dev is a graduate (1966) in Mechanical Engineering from the National Institute of Technology (NIT) Warangal, and a Post Graduate (1968) in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore. He possess an MBA (1990) and doctorate (PhD. 1992) in Business Administration from Newport University, California and a Fellow of the Aeronautical Society of India, Institution of Engineers India, and Institute of Marketing and Management India. He took active interest in professional associations and undertook key roles and responsibilities such as, Past President of Aeronautical Society of India, Trivandrum (89 – 90);Chairman, Society of R&D Managers, India (1992); Advisor, Trivandrum Management Association; Advisor, National Institute of Quality and Reliability, India; Life Member, Indian Astronautical Society and Member of Indian Society for Training and Development.


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