XUYÊN SUỐT HỘI ĐỒNG QUẢN TRỊ: TRƯỜNG ĐẠI HỌC TRONG THẾ GIỚI HẬU COVID-19
The 115th year of NUS’s founding is commemorated on 3 July 2020. NUS115 celebrates the University’s transformative impact over the past 115 years and its continual efforts in shaping the future for a better world. Across the Board, a new content series to mark this momentous occasion, will feature interviews with and editorials by distinguished members of the NUS Board of Trustees on relevant and pressing issues.
| By Professor Tan Eng Chye |
I was speaking with a colleague recently, and he remarked that the COVID-19 pandemic is an extinction-level event, and those of us who fail to adapt will simply cease to be.
COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. At the global level, economies have shut down, supply chains broken, and all forms of travel have come to a virtual halt. In our everyday lives, the pandemic has profoundly affected our relationships, our daily movements, our work, and our leisure.
For universities, polytechnics, schools and other institutes of learning, we have had to radically change how we teach and learn, how we conduct assessments and examinations, and how we conduct research. Indeed, one upside of COVID-19 is that it forced through many changes that we wanted to implement, but did not, because of complacency and even resistance.
If COVID-19 truly is an existential crisis, then it should make us reflect on existential questions. For example, before the pandemic hit us, universities tended to see their biggest challenge mainly in economic terms: how to prepare our graduates for a world disrupted by Industry 4.0, of getting them ready for a world of artificial intelligence, robots, and ever-quicker rates of job obsolescence.
With COVID-19, all these challenges not only remain but are heightened. These challenges now have to be tackled in a world where all of our assumptions are called into question: What will our students desire in this changed world, beyond a job and an income? What does happiness mean in this new world? What do we define as success?
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