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  • President Obama, what are your plans for higher education second time around?
  • Posted By:
  • Jamie K
  • Posted On:
  • 25-Jan-2013
  • Our president has defined higher education as a cornerstone of his legacy drawing upon historical examples that transformed this landscape. Responding to a growing middle class, our first ever expansion in the field of education between 1945 and 1980 also focused on the need to develop cutting-edge technology and research and produce a technology-driven workforce.

    Education eventually went on to be institutionalized in keeping with our global ambitions and need to consolidate growth effects and bring down taxes. This evidently led to the creation of our higher education system.

    Between 1980 and 2010, we became less progressive and more defensive in response to our earlier expansion. Calls for accountability increased as our government became more discreet. Our knowledge-based economy increasingly became the foundation of our claim on global competitiveness.

    We can only find out if our higher education was actually about change and hope with a wait-and-watch approach. It all depends on the very first steps that our President is planning on taking in his second term. Though limited by lack of discretionary money and financial deficit, he has a stronger hand and can now take the necessary bold measures. It is time for him to do what he says fearlessly.

    The best path would be to keep the approach student-focused. Work out what students need in order to get through the system. Programs that empower students and place them on a focused path must be supported and encouraged.

    Programs must be designed in such a manner that they provide the necessary guidance, mentorship and counselling. Students must be taken through the education lifecycles towards employment beyond the role what community colleges play.

    We all know that today’s economy is knowledge-based. Jobs that require four-year degrees are still in demand among students. There is no point in opening doors of community colleges. It is our responsibility to make students realize the value by walking them on the path towards gainful employment.

    Ask any employer today and he will tell you how he prefers graduates who think. As the traits of liberal education, ability to speak, write, work cooperatively, use technology and apply quantitative methods are foundations upon which students earn their professional degrees.

    It is time for us to deeply realize the truth that our economy will not improve and we will certainly not become competitive with the help of engineers who cannot write. As a president, if he focuses on this issue, he will be successful in diminishing the constant harping of the media pundits and consumers about the dubious value of liberal arts training.

    It is also time for our president to put an end to the unnecessary fight indulged in by the higher education community over the importance of degrees over credentials. Technology should be the focal point that bridges the gap between how students are taught and how they learn and for this, programs that use technology must be supported. Everything clearly is now in our president’s hands.


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