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We are taking giant strides into the future

Right now, the Board of Education is organising a series of workshops on the education of the future at KTH. They have set their sights ten years forward and to succeed, the change journey needs to start right away. A change that is not only desirable but also absolutely necessary.

At the workshop last week, the former president of Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, gave an inspiring talk about their change journey, together with a leading educational developer. Nanyang Technological University is not entirely unlike KTH. The time before, our President and the Director General of the Swedish Higher Education Authority presented their thoughts on the structure and development of education moving forwards.

Why the hurry? Developments in technology are proceeding at an ever faster pace, and we now find ourselves in a revolutionary and transformative phase with a sharp increase in digitalisation, AI and electrification, for example. In the 1990s, the half-life of knowledge acquired from an engineering degree was considered to be about 30 years. Today, this is estimated to be around three to five years.

This means that we need to rethink how we structure education at all levels and how we can make this accessible and attractive for a career where you need to continuously top-up your knowledge and skills and to ensure this all fits well together.

The big challenges facing society will increasingly call for cross disciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches. Approaches that our students should learn about while they are at KTH and that will require different learning environments and educational models.

Education is becoming ever more competitive. Digitalisation in particular is paving the way for this as it simplifies distance learning. Our competitors are not purely international universities but also other organisations. To remain relevant in the future as well, research and education must continue to be closely connected. Not merely in terms of content, but also in structuring our learning environments, teaching and examination activities along modern, educational and scientific grounds. In this context, our campuses are important, as is using them in the best possible ways.

The pandemic has shown that increased digitalisation in teaching is not only possible, but in many cases also desirable. And above all, it has shown that change is possible.

The risk of more hands-on political control is a threat. Even if the underlying intentions are good, this risks significantly impeding ways in which we can offer education of high quality. It is better that we are proactive and change our learning environments and educational models to suit the future rather than being subsequently forced to be reactive by following detailed rules and payment models that in a worst case, can result in the opposite of what we aim to achieve.

We are now expanding these workshops to also include our strategic partners and other groupings.

Tip of the week Read the wise reflections of the President of Stockholm School of Economics on the role of campuses  (In Swedish) in the light of the pandemic.