2022.08 The Taiwan Banker NO.152 / By Hank Huang (黃崇哲)
Narrowing the Chasm Between Study and PracticeEditor's Note
After 10 years of discussions and preparations, the first batch of high school students on the 2019 curriculum has finally completed their college entrance exams and started university life. This class has spent a lot of effort on its learning journey. Will they be able to truly implement its vision of “success for every child” after completing university and graduate studies and entering the workplace? Or will they become lab rats in a game with unfamiliar rules? Students should not and cannot accept higher education just for the purpose of earning more money, but should also aim to cultivate their personality and well-roundedness. Nevertheless, if the knowledge and skills they attain do not contribute to their personal career development at all, or if they learn obsolete skills that no longer meet the needs of the market, the return on the time spent in one of the most important periods of their lives will be far less than their investments in the form of student debt. Moreover, this should not be the aim of higher education. In finance, for example, the old curriculum design created a gap with the skills urgently demanded by financial institutions. For example, due to rapid industry changes, most accounting tasks have been automated; investment management is also next in line. At the same time, digital assets are not covered in current coursework. It's no wonder that in this year's application thresholds for most national universities, as well as more than 20% of finance departments, now use the more difficult Mathematics A test to replace Mathematics B as the admission criteria for legal and business majors. This demonstrates that with the rise of fintech, schools hope to cultivate mathematical analysis and programming skills. That being said, however, even though the industry current lacks fintech and ESG talent, this will not necessarily be the focus of hiring in 3-5 years. Moreover, in the rapidly changing industry environment, it is not even clear that schools can teach the technical content that will be required in the future. Just imagine if students labored to study the chemistry of film development, aiming to photo developers after graduation, while ignoring the rapid improvement of digital cameras. It's no wonder that many top overseas schools have emphasized curriculum redesign and industry needs in reshaping their educational offerings. In addition to modifying their instructional design to make the learning process more meaningful, they are also using increasingly professional instructors, and use cross-disciplinary learning to broaden the expertise of students through cooperation with industry, as well as entrepreneurial activities. In addition to exposing students to the real world, this also allows curriculum and teacher growth to truly meet the needs of the industry. After all, most people hope that a degree would improve their quality of life. The efforts of the education sectoral alone, if the financial industry does not participate as well, will not alleviate the serious disconnect between education and work. Curriculum reforms that fail to respond to the future needs of the industry could not only leave banks struggling to find talent, but also turn the current gap between study and practice into a vast chasm, wasting the precious youth of this generation.