In line with the BOLD Summit happening at ALU’s Mauritius campus this week, Sunday Jerome Salami (Nigeria) and Sandrine Ishimwe (Rwanda), two Y4 students share their thoughts on what it means to be BOLD.
Recently, the African Leadership University was listed by Fast Company as the most innovative company on the continent; an achievement that was celebrated throughout the institution as a historical milestone towards reinventing education. Complex factors can be credited for such a monumental success, from the unique culture that brings students, faculty, staff, contributors, and honorary members of the community in passionately working together to realize the moon-shooting vision of changing Africa; to the hard work, complicated processes and strategies that bring the most bold ideas to life. The most outstanding factor, however, would be that ALU is not just a learning institution. It is an innovative institution.
The innovation in ALU is seen through the model that has been developed by the institution as the most effective way to deliver effective education in the 21st century. Firstly, the model places students at the core of their learning journey which challenges them to learn how to learn by themselves while the role of the facilitator is limited to facilitating discussions and activities that drive learning. Secondly, 21st-century skills are at the center of ALU’s model. The institution has highlighted 7-meta-skills that are required for students to be successful wherever they find themselves. These skills are developed through practice, on-the-job experience, coaching, and regular feedback. While ALU seems to be at the forefront of this innovation, the same cannot be said of other higher education institutions that are still firmly entangled in the conventional way of doing things.
Education is said to be a core sector to the development of any economy. Unfortunately, it continues to lag behind while other sectors are being propelled into the future by the mindset of doing things differently, better, faster. It is true that modern learning models are emerging out of the need for meeting talent demand for the 21st century. These efforts, however, are not enough. Educational institutions need to be more proactive and deliberate about changing the way they do things. Redesigning the way learning happens in the classroom is one step forward in the right direction. More than that, this shift should involve not only redefining the role of educators in the learning process but empowering them into being active participants in shaping new talent. or using Big Data to refocus efforts of developing talent for future market demand, among others. Thus, Breaking Ordinary Learning Dimensions is what happens when innovation is moved from happening to or around education and brought at the core of its paradigms, systems, and processes.