Education trends for 2022 and beyond
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Education trends for 2022 and beyond

Education trends for 2022 and beyond

More and more universities will encourage students in their entrepreneurship efforts and act as incubation hubs

1. Student mobility will grow again

The past year witnessed a significant decline in the flow of international students crossing borders to pursue higher education, owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, in 2022, we expect to see global student mobility making a cautious comeback. We are already seeing that several international students are willing to get themselves vaccinated and undergo quarantine in return for on-campus study and the experience of living abroad.

There will also be students who begin a study programme in one country, and then look to transfer to a campus in another country to continue learning. While the pandemic is by no means over, student mobility in 2022 is likely to grow and is being driven by a strong desire to get back on track with academic and career goals after months of disruption, the availability of vaccines and the need to ‘not miss out’ on a holistic university experience.

2. How we learn and how we teach will change

The pandemic has already brought about several changes to the way we teach and the way we learn, and this will continue to gain momentum this year. One, the need for lifelong learning will continue to grow and we will also see a change in the profile of learners themselves. For example – the university student of today may not necessarily be an 18-year-old, but a working adult who attends college part time, or may even be juggling childcare. And for this new demographic of learners, universities will look for ways to make education more flexible so they can take it up alongside their daily lives, such as by pioneering new work-based learning, including apprenticeships, micro credentials and focused online programmes to develop a specific set of skills.

Two, the forced adoption of some teaching techniques by the pandemic, such as blended learning, are here to stay and will play a key role in education delivery in 2022 and beyond. Another is assessments, as students will need to adapt to exam settings after at least a couple of years of being assessed by projects or open books exams. Universities too will need to think about how students should be assessed.

And three, AI will continue to automate certain tasks, for example grading homework and tests, so educators can focus on other quality tasks such as spending more time with students. Tutoring and self-study programmes will advance even more, and AI will also play an important role in the admissions process.

3. There will be an increase in industry-academia collaboration

Industry and academia partnerships have several benefits: they give students and faculty additional funding and resources to undertake research as well as diversify their research areas. They give industry a view into what the next big opportunity is going to be and access to talent, and society benefits from a skilled workforce that can positively impact the economy. 2022 will see academia and industry working together to identify major industry challenges and research gaps and trying to find solutions, which will ultimately result in a pathway for commercialisation. More and more universities will encourage students in their entrepreneurship efforts and act as incubation hubs, backed by industry.

4. The education landscape will become more competitive

The education landscape in the UAE will become more competitive, given the recent growth in this space. We will see more universities coming up, many of them with significant capacity, leading to competition growing quite significantly. Students will have wider choices in higher education as well as access to more scholarships. This could help with bridging the gap, as in the past, some students could not afford to study and live in Dubai. At the same time, education is much more than just textbook knowledge. The ever-evolving job market requires educational institutes to keep up with the changing needs so that they can equip students with the right soft and technical skills.

Institutes that pay far more attention to the overall growth of a student will emerge as winners than those that are still focused on just textbook learning. From new work-based learning, including apprenticeships, micro credentials and focused online programmes to develop a specific set of skills, to advocating mental health and physical well-being, institutes should be able to offer developmental growth to students if they want to succeed in a competitive landscape.

Professor Ammar Kaka is the provost and vice principal at Heriot-Watt University Dubai

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