Interview with Rosa Visiedo, rector of CEU San Pablo: educational branches of the future – CodeList

It is one of the questions that most worries parents and students: which path to choose? The answer is conditioned, in turn, by a large number of variables, such as what the young person in question wants to do and, above all, what the job market will ask for in a few years.

Because the vocation, naturally, is something that must be attended to, but by itself it does not feed. journalist’s word

To help answer this question, Rosa Visiedo, rector of the CEU San Pablo in Madrid, launches her prediction for the next 10 years at the request of Business Insider Spain.

“The branch of Health Sciences Enjoy, worth the redundancy, an enviable health. Medicine and Nursing of course, but also Dentistry and Psychology are careers with good prospects. I think the trend will continue”, explains Visiedo.

To them are added the well-known careers of a technical and technological naturethat, in fact, they are experiencing a moment of explosion in which the demand for professionals even exceeds what universities and training centers are capable of offering.

This, explains the rector, will gradually happen: the offer will be balanced with respect to the demand. With everything and with that, the transition towards an even more digital ecosystem will allow engineers (especially system engineers), programmers and technicians to find where to develop their activity.

To them will be added the graduates of new degrees in industries to which Spain has traditionally been more or less alien, such as animation and video games.

This is knowledge whose development will contribute precisely to the growing competition from the so-called corporate universities, that is, companies that offer their own training to students from all over the world.

The paradigmatic example is Google, which, along with a large number of free online courses, also offers training on particularly hot topics such as digital marketing and artificial intelligence today.

“It is a necessary training, but it is still something very specialized. I think you go to college for other things too. In addition to acquiring knowledge to develop a profession, you also come to the university to mature, to build a vital project”, says Visiedo.

“I like to think that we prepare students not only to develop their work, but we also prepare them for life“.

A soft skills education to appeal to everyone

And that is also where the future of universities generally passes. It escapes no one that CEU San Pablo, a private university, competes in Madrid with 10 other private and 6 public universities, some of the size of the Complutense University, which is the face-to-face university with the most students in Spain.

That, without counting those that offer essentially online training both in Spain and in the world. Competition in post-compulsory education today is fierce, and everything indicates that it will be even more so in the coming years.

What can an educational institution that aspires to attract more students each year do in a context like this while the number of players is also growing?

Part of the answer, says Visiedo, is located in what is known as soft skillsthe interpersonal skills that companies demand so much, while most parents and teachers continue to insist on introducing tons of technical information to students.

The rector is not even convinced by the concept: “I don’t like to call it soft skills nor soft skills because acquiring them costs a lot, it is a very hard process”, he says.

The issue, says Visiedo, is much more important than many think. There are jobs and money at stake.

“Many times we have detected that what companies do is demand a series of minimum knowledge. From there, they look at the personal capabilities of each one. What finally decides the decision to opt for one candidate or another is this, not what they know.

In this, Visiedo expands, studies of a humanistic nature will also play a role, something that may seem countercultural in an increasingly technological context but for the rector it makes perfect sense. She believes that in a world increasingly reliant on technology, someone will need to counter and bring with them all that technology alone cannot provide.

“The humanities provide more general, more inclusive knowledge, help transmit values, generate critical thinking, develop personal skills such as communication skills or the ability to continue learning,” he explains.

“There is more and more talk about companies that require professionals who come out of the field of Philosophy, for example, or Linguistics. They are profiles that until recently seemed that they were not going to have a place. today they are having it“.

Illustration about woman scientist

The Bologna Plan, a full stop to university education

But every point is reached after having traveled a path. In recent decades, in the Spanish university this has a first and last name: Plan Bologna.

Signed with the arrival of the new millennium in the city that gave it its name by a group of European countries including Spain, it brought with it the definitive modernization of post-compulsory education.

Among its main innovations, it replaced the credits of the old Spanish degrees and diplomas with ECTS, a new way of accounting for teaching hours that equated Spanish subjects with foreign ones, which in theory should facilitate mobility between universities.

In addition, it simplified the education system: instead of 3-year diplomas and 5-year bachelor’s degrees, students could only opt for degrees, mostly 4-year ones.

Interpreted by many as a privatization de facto Since the university, the Bologna Plan was introduced with considerable controversy in Spain. Almost 15 years after its entry into force, it is time to take stock.

These are the exams of the new Selectividad that will arrive in 2024: exercises on real life, less memorization and access to formulas in mathematics

“The Bologna Plan has not changed the university as much as it was supposed to. But I think it has served to advance a lot. It has encouraged mobility between universities, even with joint degrees. Nowadays it is also very common for students to go away on Erasmus for at least one semester. These are changes that have been consolidated”, says Visiedo.

The professor is clear about it: “Bologna marked a before and after in the university system, not only in Spain, but also in the European university system”.

This, he clarifies, does not mean that there are no gaps.

“Evaluation methods, on the other hand, have not changed as much as they were supposed to. There are dynamics that are more difficult to change”, comments the rector, referring to some final exams that, with Bologna, had to lose weight in favor of more practical teaching focused on the student’s day-to-day.

All in all, says the professor, a doctor in Information Sciences, higher education has been able to adapt little by little to a new generation that is often sarcastically defined as the best prepared in Spain.

“They really are, the data says so. I am very much against the bad reputation that is given to them. When I was studying, it was said that young people were this or that. The truth is that they are part of a generation that relates differently to information, which should force us to rethink how to teach. They are not better or worse than any generation, they are different”.

With this in mind, the teacher is in favor of finding a balance between the new teaching and the old teaching.

“Everything in its context. A master class can be wonderful. This can be perfectly added to practical seminars that force you to move what you know as a team. I am not in favor of innovating for the sake of innovating. You have to do it to achieve your goals.”

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