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Learning networks should take over traditional university degrees

12 February 2017


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As universities fail to address ever-changing job descriptions, companies are taking over the role of education, requiring the need for embracing new learning networks, Joseph Aoun, President of Northeastern University, told delegates during Day One of the 2017 World Government Summit.

As universities fail to address ever-changing job descriptions, companies are taking over the role of education, requiring the need for embracing new learning networks, Joseph Aoun, President of Northeastern University, told delegates during Day One of the 2017 World Government Summit.

“We have to move faster [to] adopt a new model of education; waiting for the consensus of everyone, would be too late,” he said.

Aoun cautioned that 45 percent of jobs, including white collar, are predicted to disappear, to be replaced by new ‘titles’ requiring new expertise. 

“Nobody is going to be set for life by doing even three degrees, we have to prepare students for an ever-changing life."

Undergraduate education should include, according to Aoun:

  • Technology literacy
  • Data Literacy
  • Humanix  (what distinguishes us from machines, such as empathy)

“What makes us robot proof is creativity, cultural agility, systems thinking, and our education hasn’t focused on these essentials,” he continued.

Additionally, students should get out of campus on longer internships, and those in work should undertake short-terms studies for certificates, which could stack up to a degree.

“We have to integrate life-long learning into universities, there’s a mushrooming of companies setting up internal education because higher education is not doing it."