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Re-thinking the role of universities

Prof Ho Yew Kee.

ONE key component of the Committee on the Future Economy report is for professionals to acquire new skills for future jobs. Ho Yew Kee, associate provost (SkillsFuture & Staff Development) at the Singapore Institute of Technology, shares his views on how universities can help build future ready capacities and capabilities:

  • Get more practitioners back to the university to share their cutting edge knowledge and skills in the commercial world;
  • Restructure the curriculum of the undergraduates such that they are more skill and practical-based without sacrificing the academic rigour of the programme;
  • Get the professors to be involved in the business world so that they can understand the working mechanism of the businesses. They can then structure their research and teaching to meet the industry challenges;
  • Give the students more personalised experience in the class rather than mere rout learning or even a one-way monologue lecture (particular for large class size). Let them solve real world problems rather than simplified exercise or tutorials;
  • The growth in content for the finance and accounting discipline will suggest that there is insufficient time for the faculty to cover the whole of the content space adequately. The universities will have to restructure their delivery such that the students should be encouraged to learn by themselves;
  • There will be a greater role for online or technology enhanced learning since the current generation of students is already multi-media savvy and they spend a lot of time online.
  • Consider putting the students on work-study programme, structured internship and on-the-job training as part of their acclimatisation to the real world.