Educational Institutions Of The Future

by Patrick Liew on June 1, 2016

While it’s important to plan for the future, it’s also important to be mindful that the world is changing faster than we can predict its future landscapes and other outcomes.

Therefore, it’s important that we put together building blocks to help our students respond to and leverage the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous future.

We cannot stop challenges but we can help students develop appropriate capacity, capability, agility, and tenacity to resolve these challenges.

For example, the way we structure our educational institutions according to different schools of practice is a remnant of the industrial age.

A major reform of the current system is way overdue if we are going to help our students survive and succeed in a fast-changing world.

In the new world to come, we need our graduates to operate in a multidisciplinary, multidimensional and multifaceted way so as to function as problems solvers and solutions providers.

In the process of the reform, we need to move further away from what educators call the factory model system.

This system is characterized by centralized planning, top-down management, classroom-centric learning, assessment-based outcomes, and separation from the community and industry.

Educational institutions cannot be a periodical stop over for the learning journey. They have to work as a vital and an integral part of the public-private-people collaboration to ensure that our graduates stay relevant and at the cutting-edge of the economy.

Our institutions, especially universities have to be transformed into lifelong learning institutions so as to help students continue to learn, improve and achieve better results throughout their lifetimes.

It’s also not sufficient for our institutions to train students for a specific profession or career.

They need to provide adequate knowledge and skills to support both students and graduates to succeed in multiple careers and at different locations in the new world.

In this regard, teachers should shift from being inclined to transferring content knowledge to helping our students learn how to learn and apply evolving knowledge to achieve sustainable success.

They have to promote self-directed learning and implement it through practical and hands-on project-based learning activities.

In addition, they have to proactively engage support of the community and industry in the educational process. It will ensure that students develop critical thinking and learn how to be creative and innovative in leading and managing real world issues.

It bodes well to be constantly reminded that formal education can only open the door to a career but lifelong learning can help our students reach the top floor of the economy and life.

By helping students develop 21st century skills, we can help unleash and channel their energies to become better leaders and useful members of the economy and society.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

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