DUBAI, 21st May, 2022 (WAM) — A report released by The World Government Summit (WGS) Organization in partnership with KPMG titled ‘The Future of Higher Education within the Knowledge Economy’, outlines the need to build more resilient and agile education systems.
The report urges governments and education leaders to adopt a long-term vision to enable education systems to balance current technological and professional requirements with lifelong skills.
It further highlights that the global sentiment surrounding work and education has transformed rapidly in the last few decades. This has lead to the emergence of novel work patterns and trends within the education system, which have been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In the last two years, the integration of digital technology across the entire educational system has been fast-tracked, with faculties broadening their access to online tools and resources,” the report says. This, in turn, has shown the challenges of accessing online training courses in the past decade. The report states that forward-thinking government and policymakers in developed economies focus on enabling traditional and digital educational behaviour patterns depending on trends to embrace the readiness for future challenges.
The report says the “golden era” of universities in the developed world has ended, with institutions today coming under pressure by less expensive educational alternatives. We can overcome this challenge by exploring the possibility of digital platforms providing a low-cost and accessible alternative to on-campus education.
Future-proofing higher education The Future of Higher Education report reiterates that leaders and policymakers in the higher education sector need to build a framework for blended, interdisciplinary programs, so they can address the challenges of the digital economy and the evolving workplace.
This will entail a focus on three key themes: education between the digital myth and reality, value-for-money, and the role governments and regulatory reforms play.
A massive step in future-proofing higher education is in investing in technological infrastructure, data centres, and soft skills, along with balancing funding models between market needs. This is achievable through partnerships between governments, higher education institutions and the industry of advance courses and curricula, while working along with local universities and global institutions to invest in research and science as national priorities. The report recommends building talents and capabilities nationally, while drawing global talent to enhance national competitiveness in future sciences.
Commenting on the report, Mohamed Yousef Al Sharhan, Deputy Director of the WGS Organization, said the future of education requires governments to develop new knowledge models that leverages technological advancement and build digital ecosystems. that would encourage life-long education and enhancing skills that would enable the next generation.
He also added, “WGS is keen on solidifying its global impact in enhancing government knowledge. The organization, serving as an integrated knowledge platform, builds capabilities, empowers, and provides governments with the necessary knowledge to tackle future challenges. It further contributes to enhancing governments’ agility and readiness for the future as well as developing an advanced work model that would enable governments to build a better future.
For his part, Mazen Houalla, Head of Portfolio, Program and Project Management, KPMG Lower Gulf, said; “The rapidly changing global environment surrounding work and education has shaped the demand for education systems that are agile and future-proof. This research focuses on three themes being digital myth and reality, cost versus value and the role of government and regulatory reform. Higher education leaders therefore need to create the framework for blended and multi-disciplinary programs that meet the demands of the digital economy and continually changing workplaces.”
Online education keeps growing Online education will continue to grow digitally amid the global economic downturn caused by COVID-19 pandemic which will drive people around the world to increase registration in online courses. As stated in the report, alternative models such as partial degrees and competency-based education as well will increase significantly.
The report indicates that advanced technologies will lead to better outcomes for students, noting that three goals can be achieved by using machine learning technologies to automatically collect and analyse data. Together around the globe we can achieve proactively reaching all students through dedicated resources and instructions, predicting each student’s performance in upcoming semesters to suggest additional resources or alternatives, and providing real-time AI-based feedback on tasks and resources for further study.
Future educational programs The report pointed out that the role of governments, as primary funders of research, needs to develop with new insight and visions. Governments will be expected to deliver on future requirements by funding the learning process and equipping educational programs and systems to keep up with real-world challenges and bring proactive solutions and plans.
The report emphasises that governments must promote education that equips learners with key skills that will be essential for professional productivity and success in the era of AI, such as skills for working with AI (technical literacy), skills to use data (data knowledge), and human literacy skills and emotional intelligence such as creativity, empathy, and entrepreneurship that can’t be reiterates by robots.