Under the premise that students should not only acquire knowledge, but also learn through experience and master the skills required for the 21st century, Tecnológico de Monterrey has begun its new 2019 syllabuses in full this August, which are designed according to the Tec21 Educational Model.
The Tec celebrates its 76th anniversary on September 6, and August 12 marks the start of a new era in its history, when it receives more than 12,000 new students who will experience full implementation of this new educational model.
Now, the focus is on having graduates with more experience and greater command of their professional and personal capabilities.
“Before, we placed value on what you knew,” explains Rector David Garza to CONECTA. “Now, we place value on what you can do with what you know, on learning to learn and adapting swiftly.”
TRAINING FOR A CHANGING WORLD
For the International Labour Organization, “skills development plays a vital role in promoting employment, economic growth, and inclusive societies.”
What’s more, in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and growing automation, several international organizations have said that today, in addition to professional skills, they require other essential ones such as emotional management and teamwork.
The World Bank, as well as a study from Pearson, the University of Oxford and Nesta have emphasized, for instance, the importance of skills for standing out in this new century.
In 2013, the Tec began the process of transforming its educational model and in 2015 and 2016 it began to incorporate elements such as the iWeek and the iSemester.
Both modes generate experience-based learning by challenging students with real and practical challenges designed, supervised, and guided by a group of teachers and an external training partner (which could be a company, NGO, community, or the public sector).
The Tec21 Model includes two types of skills for students to develop:
- Disciplinary ones (pertaining to each professional area).
- Cross-cutting ones (common and equally valuable to all professions).
CROSS-CUTTING SKILLS FOR DEGREES... AND FOR LIFE
“They’re known as soft skills... but I prefer to call them power skills,” says Rector David Garza.
“We expect students to develop not only the skills pertaining to their degree course, but also the ability to solve complex problems and adapt to new situations,” he adds.
Román Martínez, Vice Rector of Educational Transformation at the Tec, describes to CONECTA what skills the Tec is encouraging its students to have:
“There are 7 cross-cutting skills which have an impact on the quality of professional practice for any degree course, but they’re also useful for personal life.”
These are as follows:
- Self-Awareness and Self-Management: Knowing who you are and being a good planner and manager.
- Innovative Entrepreneur: Not only setting up companies, but also being an agent of change, innovative, and having social impact.
- Social Intelligence: Knowing how to relate to and interact with other people and cultures, besides knowing how to negotiate.
- Ethical and Citizenship Commitment: Developing a sense of citizenship, honesty, and acting responsibly and ethically.
- Reasoning for Complexity: Recognizing that the world is complex and knowing how to use methodologies and strategies such as design thinking, critical thinking, and learning to learn.
- Communication: Using your native language well in oral and written form, as well as presenting an idea efficiently and mastering other languages.
- Digital Transformation: Using technology to enhance processes and make them more efficient.
RECENT GRADUATES WITH EXPERIENCE
The goal of the new Tec21 Educational Model is that students don’t graduate with only theoretical and some practical knowledge from their degree courses, but with properly acquired skills.
Challenge-based learning is therefore essential to the Model.
The vice rector explains that these challenges are tackled inside and outside the classroom, and some challenges are tackled alongside training partners (companies, NGOs, public institutions, etc.).
Evaluation of students’ skill acquisition is performed through observable and measurable evidence that enables teachers to certify students’ level of mastery.
“With this way of learning, graduates are more sensitive to the needs of their surroundings. They have a systematic view of problems and a highly-developed capacity for solving them,” explains Rector Garza.
“Many of the jobs of the future haven’t been invented yet. But we’re confident that our students will not only be prepared to get a job, but also create their own opportunities,” he concludes.
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