Get to know our judges for the solution competition Hacking Higher Education Finland 2020, and find out how they see the future of higher education! Remember that the winner is decided by the audience and you can cast your vote here until the end of the event on the 16th of September.
Who are you, what do you do and what is your connection to higher education/continuous learning?
Mikko: I am Mikko Järvilehto, CEO and Founder of IMPAKT, a spinoff from Ultrahack. I advocate more impactful and innovative public procurement in the education sector. I have strong ties to higher education on many levels: student/researcher/employee/service provider/community partner to name a few hats that I have had during the past or have now! We also run the EDU INNOVAATIOKILPAILU 2020-challenge now with Business Finland and Cities of Espoo and Vantaa.
Elina: I’m Elina Sojonen and I work at Akava as a leading specialist in educational policy, specializing in continuous learning. As well as working with continuous learning on a policy level, I am also a person that never wants to stop learning. In my spare time, I study archaeology. I have my first ever archaeology MOOC starting this week and I’m very excited about that!
Aku: My name is Aku Aarva and I am the CEO of Aeonian Solutions Ltd. We’re making Finnish education attainable globally by helping our Finnish and international customers from education institutions, municipalities and companies develop their education services. I have been involved in higher education and HE policy making for over a decade - for me it all started as a student active during my studies in JAMK. Between those times and today, I have worked as HE Specialist, Executive Director and a consultant in various organisations directly involved in higher education development. I got my Master's from Tampere University, in the administrative sciences field where I focused in HEI administration, leadership and development. The next project for me is to start writing my dissertation on education export.
What do you think higher education looks like in 2050?
Mikko: More consolidated, more modular and more international benefiting from global talent sourcing. And much more digital!
Elina: In an ideal scenario higher education in 2050 is very global, digital and accessible! Education and studying are things that have become even more intertwined with work and life and it is easy to update one's skills whenever needed.
Aku: Tricky question. Perhaps you don't want to think about the effects technological development will have on higher education, but in a few decades we might have things like memory enhancing technology, universal translators or AI replacing doctors and lawyers. All of these advancements are well under way and will be a reality sooner or later, but there are powers that change higher education even today. The globalization, massification and commercialization of higher education are all phenomena that have massive effects on what higher education will look like in 2050.
I believe we will see new approaches to higher education gain a foothold in the coming decades. Perhaps universities where the focus will move from the monastery styled mass lectures towards utilizing AI and brain-boosting technology to online institutions in virtual reality environments where students from all around the world study without leaving their local habitats. Whatever the future brings, it will surely not be what we have today.
What does higher education need right now to keep up with the rapidly changing world?
Mikko: Not to rely on the illusion of having high internal innovation capability but to really start to embrace open innovation toolkits and create national and international partnership cross-functions.
Elina: I think higher education needs to stick to its core values and tasks – creating education, equality, change and skills. But at the same time reassessing how these are best adapted to a rapidly changing environment.
Aku: A balance between tradition and rebellion - now the traditionalists are in charge. There is a reason why the way we learn and teach has followed the Socratic and Plato methods for thousands of years - we are programmed to learn through stories and learn by doing. The big change will come with technology and a world without borders and physical limitations. I for one would like to see our higher education institutions on the forefront of this development but for this we need to have visionary and innovative people running these institutions. If we only aim to maintain our position in the TOP100-rankings (or get to them), we can't really say Finnish higher education is a success story.