Universities in small states like T&T should focus on international recruitment and recruiting members of its diaspora as a measure to deal with quality of education challenges.The advice comes from former World Bank co-ordinator for tertiary education Jamil Salmi.Salmi said this while speaking during the University of the West Indies (UWI), Open Lecture Series on Tertiary Education on Wednesday evening at the university's St Augustine campus.
He said with an evolving world challenges would emerge for small states to remain competitive.Challenges, such as maintaining quality education, relevance and financial stability."There is a proliferation of higher education institutes who do not deliver on promises and there is also a new focus on quality and relevance when referring to professional skills and soft competencies," Salmi said.
He said world economies were no longer looking at routine labour to be relevant but were changing focus as progress required people in creative fields and expert thinkers."There is more focus now on design than technology. Technology alone is not enough. It needs to be married with liberal arts and humanities to yield the best results."
He added that though there was a fear of human beings becoming redundant as more robots and machines were invented to perform routine tasks, human beings were still needed for expert thinking and complex communication."Talent is the wealth of the future."Salmi told the audience that universities had evolved significantly over the last two decades, as well as the needs of students.
He asked the audience to imagine a future where university students were recruited on Facebook , where students were given free ipads complete with all of the textbooks they need and where degrees would be given from exams and not classes.He predicted a future where a university professor's salary was determined by student evaluation and where a masters of fine arts would be more valuable than a master's of business administration.
Salmi, who has travelled to universities around the world, says these things are happening already in universities around the globe.He challenged UWI to join the worldwide revolution of the delivery of tertiary education.