Rector and Chief Executive of the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF)
Professor Maurits van Rooijen is the rector and chief executive of the London School of Business and Finance (LSBF), a career-focused institution with campuses in the UK, Singapore and Canada. He’s an economic historian with nearly three decades of experience in the global higher education sector. He’s an expert of international education and an advocator of concept of global knowledge cities.
Since 2008 he has been president of the Compostela Group of Universities and co-chairman of the World Association for Cooperative Education, a Boston-based group dedicated to promoting work-integrated learning. He has been vice-president of the European Access Network, an organization encouraging access to higher education for underrepresented groups, for over 15 years.
He has held leadership positions in several leading universities across the UK, Europe and Australia. In 2013 he was awarded the Constance Meldrum Award for Vision & Leadership by the European Association for International Education.
Recently, many universities in the UK received a government grade for teaching. For those who had sufficient data, the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) offered gold, silver, and bronze awards. It is good to see teaching quality being taken seriously.
The United States of America's president-elect Donald Trump and defeated Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton do have something in common: they both pursued a liberal arts degree before progressing to graduate schools.
There are only a limited number of colleges in the world that have embraced this educational challenge, yet this is likely to be the biggest requirement for our prosperity. Even more importantly, being able to develop entrepreneurialism at an early stage of life might very well be one of the most useful contributions that colleges can make to the future of their graduates
A referendum - such as Britain's recent EU vote - says a lot about how people reach decisions. Most striking is the correlation between how people voted and their overall level of education. Those educated to a higher level tended to be against leaving; those with lower education tended to vote in favour of leaving. But do not jump to conclusions: there is a bigger picture here.
Our prosperity is highly dependent on a steady influx of talented people. A knowledge-based economy like ours is desperate to attract the world's 'best and brightest'. The reason for that is obvious; we need brilliant minds to push the boundaries of knowledge, to invent and to innovate.
These three messages - recognising people as individuals (rather than positions or functions), trying to understand them (instead of judging them) and separating the personal from the professional - are very much worth bearing in mind if you are seeking success in your career.
It is a well known fact that the human brain has the ability to make an assessment about someone within the first three seconds of a meeting. Most of the time this happens without us being aware of that. People living amongst large number of other human beings, some of whom are far from nice and pleasant, have to be able to do so as a matter of survival.
For most universities and colleges, the season of good will lasts the entire year, every year - or at least, that is the idea. It is called the university's Third Mission: the self-imposed task to actively contribute positively to society.
When it comes to university, there are two opposite lines of thinking. The first is that a university education is highly overrated - some people would advise you not to bother. Instead, just follow your own passion. This view is expressed seriously by very senior and successful people.
Education - and, more precisely, work-integrated education - has an important role in reducing the chances of that happening. The right career path will boost the quality of one's life and also the quality of work because employees who are happy with their work are likely also to be much better at it. In the end, it's a win-win situation.
So yes: it is time for universities to do some serious reviews on what they offer to large segments of their students. But when one looks at the bigger picture rather than individual cases, studying at higher education institutions does remain a good investment in all fields when it comes to judging the return on students' investment.
Basic education in the UK is a right, higher education is not. Nevertheless, the days when university education was only available to those from privileged backgrounds, with only a few genuinely gifted others, is very much over.
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