Gateway to the knowledge society

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In a future marked by digitalization, our ability to innovate, our awareness and our sense of responsibility will be what allows us to take advantage of the potential of artificial intelligence to shape a better world. In this sense, universities will play a key role, whose qualifications will probably remain, for a time, the gateway to the modern world. Never had an advanced qualification provided the vital opportunities it offers today; nor ever before, those who strive to obtain a good education had paid for it today's price. Apparently of some, the proportion of young people who study in the university is increasing too much. However, they often talk about the children of others. Moreover, in the last century they would probably have claimed that there were too many children who reached secondary education.

Higher education is a gateway to the knowledge society, but an expensive door. Hence the great importance of doing things well, both by helping people choose the most appropriate and relevant study itinerary and by providing education in the most effective way. We all know that, by itself, a higher educational level does not automatically translate into better jobs and lives. There is the pernicious paradox that, while there are unemployed graduates in our streets, employers say they can not find people with the skills they need.

The quality of learning experiences can be a key differentiating factor in the universities of the future, since digitization drives the disaggregation of both content and the provision and accreditation of higher education. In the digital age, everything that we now consider knowledge and proprietary content will become available to everyone. What impact will the credentials of the business sector have on taking small learning units? It is also important to take into account the growing capacity of employers to look beyond the diplomas and discern with what knowledge and skills the candidates really count. Even today, the OECD data reveal that people's competencies and their titles have a fairly low correlation.

The quality of education is positioned, perhaps, as the most valuable asset of modern universities. Furthermore, as the evaluation of higher education fixes its attention beyond the reputation and quality of research, universities will find it difficult to use a lot of research to hide inadequate teaching. In health, we first analyze the results; We measure the blood pressure, we take the temperature of the patient and then we decide which medication is the most appropriate. In today's universities, we tend to administer the same medication to everyone, to instruct all students in the same way, and when, after many years, we discover that the results are not satisfactory, we blame the lack of motivation or capacity of the patient. However, we can do better. Digital technology allows us to find totally new answers to the question of what people learn, where they learn and when they learn; and it also enables us to enrich and expand the scope of excellent teaching.

The most differentiating feature of technology is that it not only benefits students and educators, but that it can build an ecosystem around collaborative learning. Technology could create a huge community of teachers with open content and unleash the creative skills and initiative of many individuals. For this, it would be enough to channel the desire of the people to contribute, collaborate and obtain the corresponding recognition. Likewise, we can use its potential to separate learning from outdated conventions and connect students with new sources of knowledge and innovative applications, but also with each other. This is the future that can allow us to address the social, economic and environmental challenges of our time, as well as allow everyone to thrive in an interconnected world.

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