Reforming Higher Education
College students look for higher education institutions that offer them fresh perspectives, have their best interests at heart and give them a setting to grow academically and professionally. Though several institutions have been serving students for decades (or even centuries!), there’s always scope for improvement.
Are institutions equipping future professionals with contemporary, updated skills essential to enter and thrive in today’s constantly changing job market? Is attending first-year seminars with embedded skills needed in any profession enough?
Entry-level professionals these days need to possess more skills than ever before. Understanding new technologies, being sensitive to diverse cultures, blending trends from different fields, and implementing them appropriately are some much-needed skills. When crafting the curriculum, institutions should focus on the present and include facets of tried and tested practices as part of the instruction.
Academics and Workplace Experience
Taking a specific class just because it’s required no longer seems good enough for students. They need relevant and practical courses that make crucial contributions to their lives over the period of study. It’s necessary to have diverse courses in a program to accommodate different patterns of thinking and different skills that are stimulated in various classes. However, a student planning to study Mathematics shouldn’t be forced to take dance or foreign language classes. While such courses effectively bring some variation, the student’s overall skill gain is minimal because he fails to see value in them. Instead, the student could be encouraged to take up a course that presents relevant information, like the history of numbers, from a different perspective but is connected to the subject matter and deepens its understanding as a whole.
Students also need assorted exposure to the job market to supplement their in-class education. Not all pre-law students go to law school, not all math majors take up math-based careers, and not all History majors end up becoming historians. To help all students put their degree to good use, varied real-world exposure is needed to let them decide what they’ll do on entering the job market. Higher education institutions can help students by providing industry internships, workshops, or other workforce experiences embedded in the programs.
Realistic Accountability Measures
The absence of accountability makes the students lose. Teachers should be held responsible for presenting relevant information and content. They should foster creativity and encourage innovation to help their students succeed. Often, students are graded and rewarded for their compliance instead of acquiring necessary information.
Teachers shouldn’t be rewarded solely based on high scores on year-end assessments. Other factors should be added to the mix, such as students’ end-of-semester professor ratings, student absenteeism, and student comments. If multiple student complaints pile up against a professor, it indicates he has failed to serve them in a reasonable capacity and should be held answerable for his teaching.
Improving Teacher Quality
Though students expect their teachers to be of the highest quality, they don’t always get it. Some teachers may not be updated with the current trends, while others could be discovering where they stand as a professor or may not have the aptitude to teach. Irrespective of the circumstance, improving the quality of instruction will give teachers a better understanding of their position and help students grow along with their teachers.
Teacher quality can be improved with rewards. By rewarding teachers to build relationships with the neighboring community, a positive impact can be created in the classroom, students’ learning, and community. Students can also connect their learning experiences, the classroom, and their future. Some of these community-based relationships may even give students career opportunities after graduation.
Minor policy changes can bring massive gains for students, teachers, and the school’s status. Going beyond the classroom also persuades students to bridge the divide between rote school memorization for passing a test and implementing the acquired skills.