Integral Education: Strategic Challenges and roadmap ahead (XXIII): Key Strategic Challenges for Higher Education in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Happy new year 2019. This new year is a new door for all. I hope you have been renewed in spirit and desire to reach your goals and dreams. Positive energy for all of you.
For those of you who are new to my blog, I started to write about the theme “Integral Education: Strategic Challenges and roadmap ahead” two months ago. I publish two or three times per week following an outline. Today is the turn of “Key Strategic Challenges for Higher Education in Asia, Africa, and Latin America”. I will try to do an abstraction about it. I will see it from the strategic perspective, which is my own core business soul.
As a prelude, I have prepared the following notes. Please take a deep look at them. I landed into the educators as the strategic priority in terms of tertiary education (this also applies to secondary-highschool):
If you wish to download the last slides in PDF format, please click here: Eliescalante Integral Education Strategic Challenges-AsiaLatinamericaAfrica
Each country and continent has its own needs and wants in relation to education. Some countries in the same continent are a bit advanced than others or have different resources and human capital development, and the education strategy has to be different. Some of the developing nations have taken a serious path to conduct an education strategy, which has been consistently established during the last years. Meanwhile, there are other countries, which have been affected by war or political turmoils, and are way behind to stabilize an education public policy yet.
As I mentioned in one of my latest publications, I rely very much upon the report from The Task Force on Higher Education in Developing Countries was convened by the World Bank and The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO’s). This report was published 20 years ago. The main recommendations of this report to solve the educational crisis in developing nations are still outstanding to this day. These recommendations felt into two main categories: increasing resources, and improving the efficiency with which resources are used. So simple, don´t you think? In addition, the Task Force recommended a larger and more diversified resources base:
- Improving educational infrastructure especially computer and Internet access, scientific laboratories, and equipment, but also more traditional infrastructure such as libraries, classrooms, dormitories, and recreation and cultural facilities;
- Content: The design, testing, and implementation of new curricula and academic programs, including the expansion or introduction of general education;
- Professors: The recruitment, retention, motivation, and long-term development of well-trained faculty;
- Access for all: Increasing access for economically and socially disadvantaged populations; and
- Research and Development: Conducting more and better science education and research, both basic and applied.
Once I was reading the recommendations of this report, I thought that actually, the priority is human capital in educators. Of course, the 5 recommendations must be all integrated and considered into each country long-term vision education strategy, but for me, human capital factors move the rest of the categories.
In addition, many times when we speak about education, we directly turn our face to students. My own view is that we are wrong. The needs and wants of students (at primary, secondary or tertiary levels) will only be solved by helping their own educators. Students tend to advance as much as his or her professor has advanced. That is why it is critical to invest in educators. The investment in educators is critical for future generations.
- If we need creative kids and in consequence a creative workforce, we must have creative educators.
- If we need critical thinkers in the future, we must have critical thinker educators.
- If we need problem solvers in the future, we must prepare problem solver educators.
- If we need holistic and integral innovators in the future, we must empower the minds of holistic and integral innovator educators.
The majority of think tanks in the world are doing awareness campaigns and conducting research in relation to the importance of this mindset shift in the skills, competencies, and capabilities needed for the future. For example, the British innovation foundation Nesta and the University of Oxford future-gazers from the Oxford Martin School have established the skill requirements which will be needed by 2030:
- Judgment and decision making. How to consider the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Fluency of ideas: The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (regardless if these are correct or not).
- Active learning: Learning strategies—selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
- Learning strategies: Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Originality: The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
The World Economic Forum has listed its list of the 2022 skills:
- Analytical thinking and innovation
- Active learning and learning strategies
- Creativity, originality, and initiative
- Technology design and programming
- Critical thinking and analysis
- Complex problem solving
- Leadership and social influence
- Emotional intelligence
- Reasoning, problem-solving and ideation
- Systems analysis and evaluation
The priority in education (with or without internet of things or happy smartboards or tablets or state-of-the-art tech classrooms) should be the educators. New technological gadgets and tech inventions will continue to emerge, but it is the educator whom we need to strengthen, helping him or her to be outstanding “educator” at an integral level (not just in content or area of expertise, but in teaching skills, in methodologies, in conduct, in values). Education is crucial for educators. To the extent as possible, professors at higher-level education (tertiary levels: college, universities) must have a Ph.D. or Doctorate degree. If not, they should have equivalent levels of training. In addition, the culture of research as to be empowered in the educators ´communities as their heartbeat. And excellent educators have to be economically rewarded way better than any top investment banker or managing director from corporations.
If educators require a Ph.D. it is important to understand if it is working as it is designed, if not it is time to evolve with it and improve it. In some academic fields, the Ph.D. will need maybe a redesign, or at least to shape it better for the wants and needs of the new generation of educators. Don´t you think so?
On my next publication, I would like to share with all of you, how do I conceive the Ph.D. program (in any science or academic field) that has to be redesigned for the future of educators…
Stay tuned. Thank you!
Source References cited to write 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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