Oscar Larsen: Reshaping the Danish Educational Institutions’ Integration with the Labour Market for a New Tomorrow
Denne artikel blev adgangsgivende til Århus Symposium 2018 og er derfor skrevet i denne anledning. Opgavebeskrivelsen til Århus Symposium 2018 lød: ”How educational institutions can work with companies to better prepare students for the labour market?”.
We are living in a time, which is marked by marvellous entrepreneurship and a great technological advancement. These technological changes call for many adjustments and reforms to our societies, as we know them – yesterday’s skills and competences may be obsolete tomorrow due to the exponential advancement in technology and an ever-changing labour market. These changes are exactly the reason why the Danish educational system needs to work closely together with the business community to ensure employability of the educations supplied by the educational system.
This essay discusses a strategy for better integration between the Danish business community and universities, in regard to better prepare their students for employment after the end of their studies and to make sure that the education supplied by the Danish educational system meets the demands of the modern labour market.
In 2011 the Danish growth forum published a paper where they problematised the low amount of academics who were employed in the private sector which is caused by the lack of communication between the Danish universities and the business community, in regard to ensuring that the graduates from the universities, are attractive for the Danish companies and industry. In the pursuit of bettering this communicative problem between the business life and the universities in Denmark, I will point to the case of the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University. I have chosen this case as the point of departure for my argumentation, because the Hasso Plattner Institute is a joined venture between a great variety of different academic disciplines and a lot of different American companies. The main point of the institute is to ensure the interaction between the university faculty and the companies so that these two entities together plan the master’s degrees supplied by the institute so that these degrees match the academic market in the institute’s area and to ensure that the students possess the skills demanded by the industry.
By implanting such academic institutes in a Danish context will hopefully strengthen the employability of Danish students, while also ensuring the continued interaction between the academic world and the Danish business community. The hope of such a joined business/educational venture is to boost the students’ knowledge of the sector they will eventually be employed in, while also honing the students’ practical application of their academic skills.
Another so called ‘spill-over’ effect which are to be expected from integrating a lot of different academic fields in one institute is, that the teachers and the students can learn a lot from each other. Following this line of argumentation, the hope is to create a bigger understanding of interdisciplinarity between the fields and thereby hopefully straighten the students’ competences for working across academic fields and understand how to integrate this knowledge in a work situation.
One of the other great advantages of implementing such an institute, is the ability to conduct exchange programmes between employees of the work sector in question, and teachers and professors of the institute. The point of such programmes will be for the professors to enlighten the companies on the scientific knowledge produced at the institute, which the companies can hopefully use in their innovation process. And the point for sending the employees from the business sector to teach at the universities, is to give the students some knowhow about the sector which they are about to enter, and to give the students some insights into what is expected of them in a work situation.
By creating a situation where the organs of the educational system can interact with the business life, such as the example of the Hasso Plattner Institute, we can ensure that the Danish students are supplied with the necessary skills and competences demanded by the modern labour market. Following this will also hopefully make sure that the Danish students and academics are attractive to the national and international labour market, because of their vast academic knowledge and the knowhow to use it in a specific work situation.
The implementation of such an institute will also hopefully make sure, that the academic world never will lose the touch to the business life, and always keep their eyes on the problems that the businesses face when conducting their research. By enforcing such an institute via policy or some other channel will hopefully make sure that Denmark will always produce highly educated people whose skills always will be applicable to the modern and ever-changing labour market.