University Canada West President Sheldon Levy took part in a panel discussion at the BC-India Business Network’s Education Summit 2022 on May 6.
The panel, Education in Uncertain Times, which was moderated by Sobhana Jaya-Madhavan, BC-India Business Network (BC-IBN) President, featured President Levy along with Senator Mobina Jaffer, who also gave the keynote address; Colin Doerr, Director – External Relations at the British Columbia Council for International Education; Dr. Naomi Krogman, Dean, Faculty of Environment at Simon Fraser University; and, Avi Arya, Founder of Internet Moguls.
The hour-long discussion covered a wide range of topics related to education and a variety of uncertainties facing both students and educators, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the growing talent gap in Canada.
Each panelist was asked two questions around the theme of education in times of uncertainty. President Levy was first asked what can be done to “future proof” the post-secondary education system, especially in the context of the digital economy and the complex geopolitical climate.
President Levy said that one of the uncertainties facing students is whether or not their chosen post-secondary institution is going to equip them with the skills they need for the careers of the future.
“We have come to a realization that we need new kinds of institutions with new missions that are dedicated to solving the talent gap… and if we do not realize that we need a new strategy to ensure that our companies can be successful and our young people can be successful and close the talent gap, we will just have a problem,” he said. “And I think this single issue is the defining problem for post-secondary institutions in this next 25 or 30 years.”
On the second round of questions, the moderator asked President Levy his thoughts on the true purpose of education in the 21st century.
“I think it’s to help young people, older people, people in continuing education to be critical… We have to teach everyone to seek the truth… if universities don’t put as a priority the ability to think on your own as a critical thinker, society is going to fall apart,” he said, adding that while it is imperative to ensure students are equipped with the knowledge and skills to succeed in their chosen career path, today and in the future, it should not be at the expense of critical thinking.
The in-person event was attended by leaders in British Columbia’s post-secondary, international education and business sectors.Published on May 10, 2022.