15 Educational Transformation


Disruptive changes in higher education too

Oriol Amat

Barcelona will host the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies, which will bring together more than 10,000 participants from every continent in 2020. We are living in times of profound change: technological, social, economic and scientific change, etc., which logically also affects education, which is a fundamental element of the process of transformation.

The higher education system and, to some extent the education system as a whole, has been targeted at responding to the specific needs of the labour market. The Spanish word ‘licenciado’ [graduate/licence holder] represented that idea of the university as a grantor of licences to practice professions.

But the labour market has been completely transformed.  With some exceptions, the professions are no longer so clearly defined. A large part of accessible and horizontal knowledge is just a click away and content becomes obsolete much more quickly. In this situation, there is a clear need to move from an education system based on the accumulation of knowledge to a different system based on experience and a permanent and active learning attitude. This attitude must prepare people to continue to learn throughout their lives and encourage them to remain receptive to conceptual, scientific and technological changes that will appear ever more rapidly.

In “The Future of Jobs Report“, the World Economic Forum identified the 10 professional skills that will be in greatest demand in 2020.

  1. Complex problem-solving
  2. Critical thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People management
  5. Coordinating with others
  6. Emotional intelligence
  7. Judgement and decision-making
  8. Service orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive flexibility

There is no doubt that training future professionals, managers, communicators, writers, auditors and programmers etc. will not be so easy. BSM-Pompeu Fabra University understands that changing training means taking risks and testing new models and ways of learning. We have been doing this with models oriented at project-based learning, solving real challenges, guided by lecturers and mentors with a more personalized, interdisciplinary, practical and collaborative approach.

Constant change is a challenge for everyone: for students as they now become the driving force behind their own learning. They become active players who work, participate, raise doubts, collaborate as a team and organize themselves to carry out projects or solve problems. The aim is for students to tackle real situations they may come across in their future employment, while developing critical capabilities, analysing decision-making, working on communication and creativity with a humanistic and multidisciplinary approach.

This approach goes hand-in-hand with a change in role among teaching staff too. They become mentors, guides to personalized learning who encourage students through their process of discovery and construction of knowledge.

And finally, it forces us also to make changes to physical and virtual spaces, as an educating agent. The redesign of classrooms is an increasingly important element for institutions, to promote new educational models that require physical spaces in which ideas, experiences and resources can be shared, for working collaboratively and creating as a community. For this we need flexible spaces with a variable layout.

Disruptive changes are taking place in content, skills, students, teaching staff, spaces and educational centres. These are major changes that are shaking up higher education and at BSM we are tackling the challenge with the aim of making each person the best version of themselves.

Oriol Amat

Oriol Amat

Dean of BSM - Pompeu Fabra University

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