Education: the main problem: explaining the essence of modern universities and students
The current system inside higher ed both the secondary and tertiary, need to be reformed. This does not mean just lazy
Very popular blogs of University graduates, students or people who for the sake of their dreams dropped out of school and did not regret. All of them talk about the antiquity of pedagogical approaches, the isolation of the disciplines taught from reality, that employers now almost do not pay attention to the diploma, and are interested in specific skills and experience. As a concrete argument, the success stories of Steve jobs, bill gates and other prominent people of the era, who at one time deliberately refused to study at the University, are given as an example.
And at the same time we see the publication that the youngest doctor of science, 29-year-old biologist made a discovery that will help in the fight against cancer, and the girl mathematician received a prestigious award for solving the equation of the century. We are proud of graduates who create breakthrough startups and win international competitions.
There is a cognitive dissonance: what is the problem of modern universities? Why are some graduates successful at the international level while others, far from incompetent, complain about the stupid spent five years?
After studying the history and current state of world and higher education, I made several conclusions:
- We have no difference between a classical University and a specialized Institute. Social demand is not differentiated. Universities teach everyone and everything.
- All universities still teach mainly theorists.
- The modern world education system is still unable to fully meet the needs of the industrial society, while the world has long been an information society.
Let’s try to understand in order.
About classical universities
Higher education is an ancient phenomenon. In Ancient Greece in IV-III centuries BC one of the ideologists of the highest level of education was Plato. He proposed to involve a small number of young aristocrats capable of abstract thinking in this education. And they would study subjects not in applied sense, but in philosophical and theoretical terms. For example, astronomy had to be studied not for navigation, but for thinking about the infinity of the Universe. And it was assumed that those who completed this stage of education at the age of 30 years and showed a special talent could continue their education up to 35 years in order to become rulers of the state. And so it was for a very long time. For example, already in 1632, the Kyiv-Mohyla Collegium studied Slavic, Latin and Greek languages, theology and the “seven liberal arts” – grammar, rhetoric, dialectics, arithmetic, geometry, astronomy and music.
That is, initially the universities were focused rather on knowledge for the sake of knowledge, and were not obliged to convert knowledge into products and money.
Gradually, the number of Sciences increased, but the role remained almost unchanged until the industrial revolution of the XVIII-XIX centuries. It changed society: before it was agrarian, and after the revolution it became industrial. The revolution led to a sharp increase in labor productivity, rapid urbanization, rapid economic growth, and an increase in the living standards of the population.
In higher education, the revolution was manifested in the demand for a large number of highly qualified engineers and economists of all stripes. So there were Polytechnic and other specialized institutions. Objectives and programmes of universities were revised and brought into line with today’s.
Gradually, institutions increased their status and became universities. But the demand for specialists who will possess applied knowledge, not academic, remained still high. So the line between classical universities and universities of the specialized direction was erased. Hence-the unjustified expectations of students: they enter the classical University in the hope of obtaining applied knowledge, which tomorrow “break” the labor market.
Such situation is characteristic for vseh. As noted by the British intellectual property historian, lecturer at the University of Cambridge Stefan collini, today the state is investing in higher education more than ever a lot of money. And at the same time as never before universities are compromised, they have to constantly justify and explain their need.
In fairness, I note that the pragmatic Germans have a clear division into classical universities and institutions that provide knowledge for the production of business, etc.
At all times since the establishment of universities taught there – scientists minds. And today universities flaunt the number of teachers with academic titles. But the problem is, degrees deserve in the office, high in the labs. If for some Sciences it is quite acceptable, for others, more applied, not at all.
For example, the father of marketing Philip Kotler was an economist theorist. And today, practices find many inconsistencies in statements. Some of them are due to the passage of time, the reason for others lies precisely in the lack of application of theories in the real economy.
despite the current meagre funding for science and education, there are still few practitioners who consider it their public duty to teach at universities and share their experience with the younger generation. But even here, “fresh” students do not often Shine. The system of higher education in principle is a heavy bureaucratic machine, because the curricula and programs are approved for a long time in many instances. While the progressive program with the latest trends, technologies and techniques will reach the ears of students, it becomes, to put it mildly, outdated.
Because quality postgraduate education, focused on providing students with only the most relevant information. Before developing the program of each course, a detailed analysis of the students ‘ request is carried out. It is always a natural reaction to the constant changes in the social, economic and political situation in the country.
For example, during a crisis, the market is interested in economical but effective ways of activity, whether it be marketing communications, motivation of personnel in intangible ways, effective business strategies in General and individual functions. The post-crisis economy is characterized by attempts of raider attacks, which are often accompanied by information attacks. Therefore, at such a time, anti – crisis communications are extremely important, both with the external public and with personnel. When the economy begins to thaw, it is necessary to rationally use budgets and maximize return on investment.
Every few months the actual will become the new theme. Of course, you would expect from universities such responsiveness to change and approval of educational programs is naive.
Let’s go back to history, in particular, to the industrial revolution. In the Russian Empire Mikhail Lomonosov developed a curriculum according to which higher education had three stages. In the first year of study, “so that everyone can see in which one is more capable of science and has a hunt”, provided for mandatory attendance of all lectures, the second stage-visit only special cycles, and the third-the attachment of students to individual professors for “exercises in one science.” Sound familiar?
This is what we see in the higher education system today. This is after the information revolution of the late twentieth century, which again changed society in General, and the social demand for specialists in particular.
That is, in fact, our education is not something that does not correspond to our time – it does not even fully meet the needs of industrial society!
Models that would satisfy the needs of the modern information society, have not come up. We’re in transition!
What to do?
Young people rightly scolded in the pages of their blogs to our system of higher education. But still they are cunning when they say that employers are no longer interested in whether the candidate has a higher education. For most employers, a University diploma, as well as knowledge of English, is an important argument in favor of the candidate.
What do prospective students or current students? Take risks, drop out of school and follow in the footsteps of bill gates and Steve jobs, or spend five years learning, half of which is irrelevant at the time of teaching?
Perhaps the ideal, though the most difficult option, is to combine study and work, whether it is paid work or volunteering. By the way, the latter is almost a must have for graduates of American and European universities when applying for the first official job in the specialty. We have a practice to use the help of volunteers and train them in parallel is not yet common.
But not always students have the opportunity to work and study at the same time. In this case, for the last year students and young professionals, a simple and correct way to improve their competitiveness in the labor market is to attend courses and master classes from practitioners. Such people do not just have time to follow trends and apply them in their work. They themselves are trend-setters, come up with something fundamentally new and so successful that other market players do not hesitate to take it on Board. Thus, a young specialist after receiving a diploma of the University can have if not practical skills, then at least a high-quality theoretical base, a modern vision of his profession and an understanding of the essence of the work. And this is a competitive advantage.