The Need for Higher Learning Institutions to Remain Relevant

The current social and economic challenges require a fresher look if higher learning institutions are to remain relevant in the future. Their role as depository of knowledge has become increasingly challenging. The rapid development in digital media technology and the intense competition due  to globalization  affect our actions and dictate the global economy.

The developments have greater implications on the role of the higher learning institutions  and whether these depositories of knowledge can stay relevant amidst the barrage of transformations which are taking place. Innovation in digital media has opened the floodgates of curriculum content to be omnipresent. Massive open online content and several other knowledge providing platforms  are sufficient indicators that drastic changes among higher learning institutions must be done now. Universities of the future need to redefine itself, their traditional role of nation building, creating jobs and wealth  may no longer be sufficient  if the relevancy and the sustainability of their roles are put into question.

Higher learning institutions must first resolve the grey areas that have sometimes clouded  their very existence.  Issues on Core Requirements against Flexibility, Research against Teaching, Specialisations against Over Specialisations,  Science against Humanities, Theory versus Practice and the ability to use Learning beyond the classroom effectively should never be ignored.  As we prepare ourselves for the future we have to accept that the forefront of the future generation will be led by a  global society with superior thinking capabilities. This will constitute people who have the ability to think creatively and critically. They are driven by sound ethical principles and an excellent sense of good moral values.  They are people with a global perspective transcending the barriers of culture, language and beliefs. They have the ability to adapt  and respond to the demands of a globalise society.

The universities of the future will need to be more open to a wide ranging interdisciplinary approaches to accommodate the brainiest of the  global community.  Education in the future will be more driven by problem based learning rather than famous theories and principles. Subjects taught in the coming years will very much be driven by issues rather than disciplines. With open access becoming  increasingly popular, it is very likely that in the future everyone will have a degree. Universities will be seen playing a lesser role as an originator of knowledge.

The above have bearing on much of what we do here at MSU. Among the steps taken   is the widening of our scope of internationalisation activities. New areas of collaborations are identified, mobility programmes involving students and staff will be maximised as we prepare  students to become global citizens. Global internship activities will   be intensified with our  international partner universities  playing a bigger role in connecting industries from countries involved  to participate in the generation of a truly global graduates.  Our journey ahead is about maximising further and  exploring new frontiers in our quest to ensure our relevance as universities of the future.