Jens Vraa-Jensen, Chair of HERSC, The Higher Education and Research Standing Committee of Education International in Europe (ETUCE)
The presenter holds the opinion that there are many factors that have an impact on an individual’s employability: critical thinking, communication (both oral and written and in different languages), a developed intellectual capacity, social and democratic behaviour and intercultural understanding – and of course relevant, updated and useful skills in the subject you have graduated from.
In terms of employment, we are not only looking at training a person in a narrow set of skills which will risk to be outdated a few years after graduation.
All subjects and levels of education must build on a balance between what the Germans would call Ausbildung und Bildung – with the latter also providing the employee with the ability to meet new and unknown developments and problems at work, and develop solutions for them.
The labour market (the employers) will – for obvious and fair reasons – focus most on the immediately useful skills and will not necessary see the long term perspective. Thus, it can be a risky business for the long term quality and relevance of any education to involve the immediate interests of the labour market too close in curriculum development and other decisions about the content of education. External stakeholders in education can give highly valuable input, but the decisions on what to train people in should be with the professionals in education at the HEIs, based on a high degree of engagement and involvement of staff and students.
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