The future of scientific education: adapt or die?

In cooperation with the Faculty of Science

03apr2019 20:00 - 21:30


With the respectable age of 387 years, the UvA is one of the oldest universities in the Netherlands. It is hard to fathom we may have reached the end of the centuries-old model of a standard curriculum, yet many believe we do.  What could be the answer to modern society’s questions to education?

Higher education today is still firmly based on the idea of an older generation’s knowledge, being transferred one-on-one to an increasingly more massive group of learners. This model, along with growing bureaucracy and curricula lacking innovative capabilities, are cause for alarm when we consider the skills and knowledge that will be demanded from younger generations. The more we learn about learning processes, moreover, the more the realisation dawns that we must rethink the way we approach education.

Where traditional education is built on the transfer of knowledge from those who know to those who don’t, this will no longer work as we increasingly have to find answers before we have clearly defined the questions. Several experts from the fields of business innovation, information management and European research projects will shed light on the current issues facing education in Amsterdam, as well as on a global scale, and look ahead to what education could look like in the future.  

In a mind-expanding discussion, we will explore the threatened future of academic education. Toon Abcouwer will look at the current tendency towards research-based education, demonstrating how it interferes with multidisciplinary teaching, and how current practices of accreditation enforces programmes to stick to standard curricula rooted in the past. Emőke Takács takes us on a tour of European initiatives, from innovative research to the very practical ways in which, for instance, Italy is teaching thousands of new arrivals a new language. Without assumptions about any right answers or models, in this event the audience in encouraged to examine, discuss and explore the future to bridge the gap between what is needed and what is offered within the current academic world.

About the speakers

Toon Abcouwer has lectured within the University of Amsterdam for the past 30 years. His view on academic expertise is formed in both regular academic education on all levels as well as in all forms of post-graduate and in-house courses within society.

Bas Smit works as Information Manager Educatonal logistics at ICR the IM department of the UvA. He is highly involved in the process of innovating education with modern media.

Emőke Takács is managing director of the European Research Institute Hungary and as such involved in directing and coordinating large-scale EU projects within her country and abroad. She is also an author and lector, designer and teacher of trainings in (adult) education.


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