Integral Education: Strategic Challenges & Road-map ahead (XIX). Strategic Innovation at Pre-University degree levels (Part O).
Hello to all. Wishing you a lovely weekend.
I try to don´t publish anything during the weekends, but extraordinary things happen before Christmas, and yesterday I was not able to upload my content. Sorry about that.
As in previous publications, I am using the Salvadoran Economy as a sample of the educational system in non-developed nations when it comes to our theme Integral Education. As usual, it is not my aim to speak about specifics, but general philosophic questions for you to answer. The spirit of strategic innovation is founded in asking questions, and that is what I do for you.
Let´s start: The Salvadoran economy requires two levels of employees: (1) Employees who have a strong academic path with a university degree. And (2) Employees with a strong technical-vocational knowledge, usually trained with a “learning by doing” didactic, which are hired immediately after high-school. With this latter option, students can continue with a two years associate technical degree which is the equivalent of the first two years of an American “community college”.
In consequence, High School education in our country has two bifurcations:
- General Baccalaureate or Academic High School
- Technical Vocational Baccalaureate
Both options have advantages and disadvantages. The first one is usually for those who will immediately pursue a full-time degree (as the Bachelor of Sciences) at a local or international university. These university degrees are extensive (5 years). The academic offer is ample. And usually, those who finish undergraduate, continue to study a master degree.
Students who do not want to pursue an university career, or can´t fulfill the university admission requirements, or can´t afford to pay a private university, or were not able to be accepted at the only public state university, or do not want to lose the cost of opportunity to wait for another 4 or 5 years at the University or college, can choose to study at a technical-vocational institutions. These are called Specialized Institutions or Technologic Educational Centers. These entities prepare students to work after the completion of their high-school degree. Students who decide for this option, are able to work immediately after they finish high-school. In addition, some of these technical or specialized institutes, are able to extend or escalate the plan of studies with a local university. Usually, the three years of a technical-vocational high-school are the foundation for those who later wish to transfer to a University for a technical associate degree or Bachelor of Science degree.
For example, there is a local entity called Instituto Tecnico Ricaldone. This institute has done an innovative escalation of their educational offer.
As soon as teenagers finish the 9th level or junior-high-school, they decide for the Bachillerato Tecnico or Technical-Vocational High-school degree. He or she will graduate with a specific degree: Industrial Vocational Technical Baccalaureate, instead of the traditional Academic Baccalaureate.
The Industrial Vocational Technical Baccalaureate or High-school has different majors:
- Software Development
- Technology Infrastructure and Computer Services
- Mechanical Auto-motor Maintenance
- Graphic Design
- Languages (particularly English)
- Marketing and Public Relations
- Hospitality and Tourism
- Another Technical engineering majors: civil, industrial, chemistry, electrical, industrial quality control, renewable energy, etc.
- More focused specialized knowledge majors in ICT.
- Business Administration
If the student is able to continue studying instead of working after finishing high-school, he or she can escalate and get, a technical diploma, which is equivalent to 2 years of Community College in the USA.
With the finalization of this intermediate program, the student is able to work immediately. The technical diploma is also reinforced with English as a second language and it is required a level of A2 (Basic beginner) to graduate. Finally, if the students decide to pursue the engineering Bachelor of Science degree, he or she can continue at Universidad Don Bosco and three years later, he or she will be able to complete it.
This is an example of a technical-vocational high-school linked to a university program. In El Salvador, the open admission policy doesn´t apply for these type of degrees. And these entities (public or private) are not free. The Technological or specialized Institutes from El Salvador charge a modest and affordable monthly fee to each student.
Now that we are talking about university, it is wise to speak about something. The big issue at the moment is that students who have access to the internet through their smartphones, moan and whine that they can learn better from a free open source website, or from a blog, or from Youtube videos than from their actual professors. Why is this happening? Are professors bad just because they can´t use a smartboard or prohibit smartphones in the class? or is it the methodology and the content wrong? Or is it possible that educators are seen as dumb simply because they do not ask questions? Is the content of the course not updated? What is happening?
Technology is at hands of all. The Internet is available at your fingertips for everyone. The smartphones have changed our lives for good or for worst. The fact that we are able to have information at one click, and we can communicate in real time with anyone in the world, has had an impact of the flow of information from and to us. And this is faster. Faster. Faster. We live “on air”, a new philosophy of life. Everything has to be built for the audiences, fast, quick, at the speed of light, like a flash.
Information mobility has had an impact on everything and every activity the human being is pursuing. We can communicate so easily and briskly, particularly with the different social media platforms. We can sell our products and services at warp speed, pretty damn quick using the internet. We can teach and learn using videos in a hurry. Anyone can read my blog, and apply all the material in their companies A.S.A.P. We can share data, e-books at the same time that we are doing something else. We are experts in multitasking with our smartphone. Moreover, we can chat or speak through WhatsApp about an issue and respective solutions with different internet communities, and people tend to share their own information for free, promptly!
During the last 15 years, our world has changed, and our humanity has been impacted by the speed of knowledge. A transformative philosophy of how to live “on air” with the internet of things and internet gadgets and screens is already in place. The smartphones helped to accelerate this new way of living.
What do you think of the consequences of excessive information mobility and public information intelligence access in the education sector? What are, in your opinion, the good and the bad effects, or the advantages and disadvantages? Are the educational technology pioneers “right” with the actions they have taken, or are they regretting what they have done with over usage of screens? Are the educational trend-followers prudent enough to see the evidence of overusing screen gadgets in kids and teenagers? Will millennials become the first generation with brain damage because of excessive use of digital screens? Is the miscommunication between Gen X and Millennials a result of the internet overexposure through mobiles? Are professors acquainted with the expectation of students: Students expect professors to be better than the sources of information they find in google. Are educators aware of this? Do professors know that students do not trust traditional professors anymore? Distrust of experts happens when we forget they are human beings.
What do you think would be the fundamental consequences of such educational issue, and what, in your opinion, are the solutions or correctives that should be adopted to avoid humanity and the next generations from suffering such a distrust crisis towards educators?
More to continue. Stay tuned. Next week, after Christmas and as usual, I will publish several times. I will try to finish this saga before New Year´s Eve.
Blessings and hugs!
Source References utilized for this article:
Disclaimer: All the presentation slides shown on this blog are prepared by Eleonora Escalante MBA-MEng. Nevertheless, all the pictures or videos shown on this blog are not mine. I do not own any of the lovely photos or images posted unless otherwise stated.
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