Times are hard for all of us, but what about the students and young grads? The current crisis demands of us that we think creatively and innovatively about our students and trainees. How times are changing and how we can support the new load of employees.
According to annual tradition, we take a family picture to conclude the school year. For everyone a solemn moment to exchange congratulations for the hard work and dedication of our students. This year things are a little different. Jonathan, Nicolas and myself are waiting while my dear wife Paule gives instructions on how and where we should sit for the photo opportunity. Lou, our Flatcoat, and Arthur, our nippy Cocker, also don't know what to do: “should we sit, lie or stand?”. It is all in line with how we have experienced the school period the last few months: searching and a bit uncomfortable!
The current crisis demands that we think creatively and innovatively about our training and study. Our education system is successfully searching for solutions and will make important decisions for the next school and academic year. Hybrid educational models, new digital learning methods and internationalization are gaining accelerated opportunities.
Students are presented with an incredible choice of alternative digital learning options, writes Sven Mastboom, CEO of Kindred Spirits in an inspiring and engaging article 'newspaper makes the school'. In addition to the existing educational model, we see an evolution where Tech and Media companies will massively engage in learning and education. Mast boom gives the example of BBC Bitesize. They have content, expertise, and a lot of resources to bring it touted in a multi-media context. The videos are aligned with the curriculum. Netflix Language learning also seems promising to hone language skills.
More than ever, there is an opportunity for Education to engage in international cooperation says Luc Sels, Rector KU Leuven: "The complexity of challenges requires an international, collaborative and scientific approach. Expertise and insights of scientists from different fields could be fully deployed. The European Universities initiative provides a framework to grow into a common digital engagement using a “European virtual campus". UNA TEN is therefore a particularly exciting initiative. It is an open innovation design process where students from different faculties and across borders can remotely think about: innovation in travel, entertainment and culture, privacy, and digital all this during a hackathon.
KU Leuven was named the most innovative university according to Reuters, 2019.
Students as education consumers will make higher demands on our traditional education system. Certainly at a time when graduates are faced with a competitive labor market. The business world will also become more critical in hiring and starting up recent graduates. There is a particularly great opportunity during these times to bring education closer to business and vice versa. At TU Delft and Maastricht University, a (paid) internship is an integral part of education. Students can try out different work environments or they can expand their portfolio with valuable experiences. Despite high-quality education in Flanders, there still is in my opinion room for improvement. "On the job" there are additional skills needed to successfully continue and blossom into that job. A plan of action that can connect both worlds with mutual respect would be a great initiative.
Each year we welcome at least 7 young graduates at Pàu, furthermore, we provide 3 students with the chance to complete their internship with us on the shop floor. It gives us the opportunity to work together with digital talents as well as with teachers and internship masters. Earlier this year I was invited by Mrs. Elisabeth Meerts, Teacher at Thomas More to exchange experiences with the student's Information Management & Security on how best to prepare for their internship and first work experience. It was an interesting afternoon where we exchanged a lot of ideas. Together we came to the following consensus: