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KTH’s holistic approach to future education

Sometimes you get the impression that study programmes at KTH have always looked the way they have done for the last five, ten or one hundred years. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Our programmes are always being continuously developed. Partly because our researchers are also teachers and are accordingly able to incorporate the very latest findings into their courses, and partly thanks to collaboration with society and the enterprise sector around us, where discussions about what know-how and knowledge will be attractive, sought-after and necessary to meet the ever more complex challenges facing society and to make sure KTH and Sweden are on the map when it comes to global competition.

Digitalisation, globalisation and how technology is being developed at breakneck speed impose new demands on education becoming more fleet-footed.

But it is also about adapting courses to job market needs, especially if these are clear enough. In Denmark, they have introduced a kind of dimensioning model where universities are required to adapt the number of places on a course to what demand or alternatively unemployment looks like within a certain category. This is perhaps a practicable way even though KTH engineers are much sought-after on graduation, including on the global job market.

When I took up the reins as President almost six years ago, I maintained that for a study programme to be both viable and sound, three things were crucial: culture, quality and infrastructure. Culture includes an important enough attitude and view of learning as such, and not least the active role of students. Quality can be summarised as study programmes should contain both the latest research findings and the necessary fundamental solid knowledge. Infrastructure is vital in translating theory into practice in experimental environments and in so doing also learning crafts for the future. The latter, namely a solid infrastructure, gives students at KTH added value during their time here, and is something we are keen on as it gives us a competitive and excellent educational environment.

For the past year, KTH has been working with Future Education as a framework for how we can and wish to develop the education we offer with 13 fundamental principles to take education to the next level. With lessons from the pandemic to draw on, there is plenty to get our teeth into.

To name a few of all these elements, these principles include – a developing education culture, regular skills development for teachers, broader recruitment, a developed lifelong learning, and greater flexibility when it comes to study paths. The list is naturally long, as it should be, where the fundamental approach is to take a holistic grip and also develop system thinking – where one thing hangs together with and is dependent on the other.

Fittingly in time to mark the bicentenary of KTH in 2027, this substantial revamp as a whole will be very apparent to students, teachers, researchers and even administration staff as they make their way around our campuses. Already today, KTH has taken various steps along this path and changes will be implemented gradually.