Graduates are a vital part of the workforce in a country. They play a vital function in the core of innovation that contributes to the well-being of the economy. The fourth Industrial revolution is expected to change how we live, work, and communicate; it is also likely to change the things we value, and the way we value them in the future. Presently, we can already see changing business models and employment trends.
So, what does this mean for students today? In the World Economic Forum report, the 10 skills students would need for the Fourth Industrial Revolution include Complex problem solving, Critical thinking, Creativity, People management, Coordinating with others, Emotional intelligence, Judgement and decision making, Service orientation, Negotiation and Cognitive flexibility.
Moreover, the terms reskilling and upskilling are frequently read and heard over the mass media. They are sometimes used interchangeably. Previously, the terms were applicable to the industrial sector, where upskilling primarily focuses on helping employees to become more skilled and relevant in their current position. On the other hand, reskilling focuses on making employees capable to take on different jobs within the organization.
In this fast-changing world, there is a strong need to prepare students to face the challenging future. Therefore, to help students make the correct choice, HELP University has designed a concise one-year Foundation Programmed with a broad range of teaching goals and aspirations for students’ learnings that extend well beyond academic learning into fields of social and emotional wellbeing.
There are two interesting and challenging foundation courses offered at the HELP Matriculation Centre (HMC). The Foundation in Arts is specifically tailored for students who have successfully completed the SPM/O Level examination. The aim of the course is to equip students with the qualifications required for entry into tertiary institutions to pursue academic disciplines such as business, economics, law, psychology, mass communication and other arts related courses.
Similarly, the Foundation in Science enables students to obtain a strong science background before embarking on disciplines such as engineering, pharmacy, medicine, and actuarial science.
Students enrolling in either the Foundation in Arts or Foundation in Science are required to successfully complete a wide range of core and elective subjects. The core subjects such as English, Mathematics, Critical Thinking prepare them for their undergraduate study. The electives offered vary and provide students the opportunity to experiment by studying different subjects in various disciplines at the foundation level before embarking on the most suitable discipline based on individual strengths, weaknesses and interests. This according to the Dean of the Faculty of University Foundation studies, Dhanesh Balakrishnan is critical in enabling the student to make a more informed choice.
Dhanesh strongly feels that students should take time to choose the right profession. “In current times, both reskilling and upskilling have become important in the higher education sector. Students today live in the 4IR. The era pushes for advancements in Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and automation which revolutionises and disrupts well-established roles and professions at an unprecedented level”.
“As a digital premier tech university, HELP’s foundation programme not only provides sound preparation for university admittance, but also fosters characteristics of an analytical mindset, personal responsibility, perseverance and leadership that will serve the student throughout university and into professional life.”
Dhanesh added that currently, online class sizes ensure that students participate actively in the learning process, receive numerous opportunities to demonstrate their learning and gain invaluable feedback on their work. “Experienced lecturers look to engage, motivate and push the students by utilising digital tools to help them lock down their understanding of key concepts and reach their academic potential. Students are also encouraged to balance the rigorous academic demands with numerous co-curricular opportunities in sports, the arts, community service and leadership”.
HELP foundation students hold fast to the motto “Non Nobis Solum/Not for Ourselves Alone” to heart. Students are encouraged to embrace the values of citizenship, leadership and service as they prepare to take their place in the global community.
“It is not only about technology. It is also our serious attempt to revisiting our approaches on community engagement and education (formal and informal) through the process of Un-learning, Re-learning and Co-learning.”
Apart from selecting the right subjects at the foundation level, it is also imperative that the programme provides students a holistic and “future ready” approach towards education. Students should possess the necessary soft skills to ensure they have the competitive edge over others.
“Highly trained lecturers instill confidence in the students and encourage increased self-esteem and a positive self-image. Students going through this leadership training will definitely emerge as confident young adults with clear and focused goals for the future”.
“Our programme is carefully designed to ensure that students are prepared for undergraduate studies. It is our aim that when students complete their foundation studies, they not only have certificates but also valuable skills providing them confidence and high self-esteem to adapt to challenges in the current pandemic,” said Dhanesh.
The Foundation Programme at the HELP faculty of Foundation Studies is an internationally recognised foundation as it is accepted as entry qualification to prestigious universities in Australia, United Kingdom and New Zealand and many other countries.
“The time to sharpen one’s skills and competencies is now, The time to improve articulation and application of new skills is now. As Julius Caesar once said, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune”.