Recently, the Ministry of Education and other five departments issued the "General Higher Education Discipline Specialization Adjustment and Optimization Reform Plan", which clarifies that by 2025, about 20% of the discipline majors in colleges and universities will be optimized and adjusted, a number of new disciplines that adapt to new technologies, new industries, new formats and new models will be established, and disciplines that do not adapt to economic and social development will be eliminated.

Industry developments related to disciplines and specialties have also frequently attracted social attention: not long ago, through the investigation and analysis of the talent structure and needs of industry development, the Shanghai WorldSkills Competition released 5 forward-looking "future occupations" in 6 major fields, including 52G + industrial Internet, digital finance, digital marketing, and new energy vehicles; The recent release of OpenAI's new results has also sparked public discussion about new technologies and occupations: Will new technologies cause unemployment? What new occupations will emerge in the future?

Is college education ready for the influx of new professions? Various views are competing: some researchers believe that university teachers in ivory towers may not keep up with the latest trends in the industry; Some researchers believe that school education needs to cultivate and teach students basic knowledge and core abilities, and there is no need to follow the trend with new careers.

From school to the workplace, what are graduates missing?

According to Fang Shixin, assistant researcher at the Institute of Higher Education of Fudan University, "Higher education cannot fully support the career development of young people, and it is not a completely new topic. ”

There has long been a disconnect between the book knowledge imparted by universities and the practical needs of employers. "We often receive feedback from the industry that the talent that companies expect from graduates does not match the capabilities of graduates produced by higher education." Fang Shixin said. She has done research in some science and engineering colleges in China, and some students have reported that the machines they use in practical classes on campus are more than three generations behind the machines actually used in factories.

Even in some cutting-edge emerging industries — many of which are seen by many as they hold the pulse of the times and are more compatible with the industry — the situation has not improved much.

In the exchanges between frontier industry people such as new energy vehicles and the Internet and Fang Shixin, there is such feedback: it is somewhat inaccessible, and students especially lack practical ability.

Ms. Wang (pseudonym) has been engaged in human resources for 10 years in a large-scale smart electric vehicle company in China. She observed: "The intelligent electric vehicle industry is a multidisciplinary industry, requiring employees to have relevant technical background and knowledge, including electric vehicle technology, software development, autonomous driving technology, battery technology, etc., and at present, there are fewer targeted horizontal interdisciplinary training within the school." ”

Many college students' hands-on practical ability and workplace adaptability are relatively weak. "Many graduates do not have enough experience in landing projects, and stay more at the theoretical level. They can't think about the product from the perspective of the company, they can't balance the product with market expectations, and it takes a long time to adapt to the new work environment and responsibilities. She said.

Antelope Industrial Internet is the first market-oriented industrial Internet integrated service platform jointly built by government and enterprises in Anhui. After 85, Zhou Wenjing is a senior consulting manager at this Internet company. When dealing with college interns and fresh graduates who have just entered the company, she noticed that some students have industrial control and signal technologies, and some students have data and AI technologies, but few have comprehensive technical capabilities, nor do they have experience or practical training experience in the comprehensive application of the industrial Internet. "There are few compound talents and insufficient comprehensive capabilities." She said.

"The practice and benefit cycle of new occupations related to the industrial Internet is long, requiring students to go deep into the industry and go to the workshop to operate, and dig the pain points, itchy points, and difficulties of enterprises, and many students are unwilling to dig for materials in the industrial site for a long time." Zhou Wenjing analyzed the reasons.

According to Fang Shixin's observation of many new industries, "many practitioners come from various majors, which shows that our major has not cultivated the right professionals, which is related to the disconnect between higher education, and also related to changes in the social environment and rapid economic development." ”

Fang Shixin analyzed that the disconnect between higher education and production practice is related to factors such as the way university professional courses are set up and most college teachers themselves do not work in the industry.

The demand for new jobs forced teaching reform

Nearly half of the "future occupations" released by the Shanghai WorldSkills Competition are related to digital, metaverse, and the Internet, such as digital financial marketers, metaverse asset management consultants, metaverse event planners, etc.

The development of the metaverse brings new professions that require practitioners to have new skills and qualities. Shen Yang, director and professor of the Metaverse Culture Laboratory at the School of Journalism of Tsinghua University, introduced that Tsinghua University has launched a public elective course "The Development and Challenges of the Metaverse" for undergraduates in 2022, which allows students to fully understand the metaverse from the aspects of metaverse technology architecture, industry status, operation mechanism, industrial application, and risk governance. The School of Continuing Education and the School of Journalism of Tsinghua University have a course entitled "Future Industry Development and Metaverse Case Practice (Blue Plan)", which is jointly taught by professors from more than ten professional directions in the university; The "Frontier Technology" course of the Management Major of SME also teaches metaverse economics.

"College talent training should not only serve the present, but also face the future. In particular, it is necessary to give full play to the hub function of education in connecting science and technology and talents, and then serving Chinese-style modernization. Professor Liu Zhiyang, member of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Education Steering Committee of the Ministry of Education and executive deputy dean of the School of Entrepreneurship of Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said.

In fact, many colleges and universities have noticed that college education needs to strive to catch up with the development trend of the industry, and through teaching reform, make efforts in the integration of industry and education.

Professor Lv Jun, Secretary of the Party Committee of the School of Materials Science and Engineering, Hefei University of Technology, has long been engaged in teaching and scientific research. She observed that with the accumulation of industrial development, in Hefei, the "capital of new energy vehicles", the demand for graduates by enterprises has been highlighted in the past five years, giving rise to new employment demand and forcing teaching reform.

In the traditional concept, the material discipline teaches the skill of "blacksmithing". With the rise of new occupations, the employment of graduates is extending from traditional materials, casting and other industries to new materials, new energy, information technology and other fields. Lv Jun introduced that graduates of the college are mainly engaged in technology research and development, process design and other positions in new energy enterprises, such as battery cell product/process development engineers, positive and negative electrodes, separators, electrolyte material development engineers, solid-state battery research and development engineers, simulation engineers, etc.

She explained that compared with the body structure and wheel material production of traditional fuel vehicles, new energy vehicles focus on integrated systems, which has an impact on material professional teaching. "The core of new energy is power batteries, covering functional materials such as new shell materials, light metal materials, battery materials and the production of new materials, involving knowledge and skills such as material molding, processing, and research and development of new material components."

To this end, the college has accelerated the transformation of the original major. Lv Jun took the "old professional" material forming and control engineering as an example, the previous teaching focused on casting, forging, welding technology, but now emphasizes the design, implementation, experiment, testing, calculation, analysis and other practical skills training, and pays attention to the application of computer CAD/CAE/CA and other advanced material forming technologies.

In Liu Zhiyang's view, various new occupations generated by industrial demand are divided into "long-term demand" and "temporary demand", "strong demand" and "weak demand", and it is necessary to distinguish them. For example, the state is strengthening the construction of new engineering, new medicine, new agriculture, and new liberal arts, and puts forward specific requirements for college talent training programs, which is the real demand for serving the high-quality development of the economy and society, and new occupations such as e-commerce live broadcast or low threshold may be a weak demand, which should not be the focus of college talent training, but should stimulate social training institutions to complete.

"It is necessary to face the needs of the industrial chain and the growth of talents, and build an education chain and training chain with multi-party joint efforts." Liu Zhiyang emphasized.

How do universities balance the "change and unchanged" of talent training

In the context of rapid social development and the emergence of a large number of new professions, how can colleges and universities not only have their own perseverance, but also actively participate in reform?

According to Dong Shihong, deputy head of the New Employment Form and Entrepreneurship Guidance Expert Group of the Ministry of Education and director of the Career Guidance and Service Center of Zhejiang University, talent training has its own laws, and it is necessary to "respond to changes with unchanged", teach students the professional knowledge of "standing up", and cultivate students' comprehensive ability to adapt to the needs of future social development.

Zhang Ping, head of the Industrial Internet Industry School of Anhui Polytechnic University and deputy director of the Internet of Things Engineering Department of the School of Computer and Information, also agrees with this view. He believes that mastering independent learning ability, problem-solving ability and innovation ability, students have more choice.

Balancing the "change and unchanged" of talent training is a topic facing universities in the new era.

Dong Shihong often communicates with employers, and he finds that employers pay more attention to students' comprehensive qualities and abilities, including professional ethics, self-directed learning and lifelong learning awareness, teamwork ability, innovation awareness and creativity, analytical and problem-solving ability, organizational management and leadership ability, etc.

He suggested that colleges and universities should not only lay a good foundation of professional knowledge for students, but also improve students' abilities in all aspects. "For example, the emergence of ChatGPT will bring great challenges to future talent training and student job search, but we don't have to be afraid, technology is always developing, the quality of talent training has been improving, and future talents can adapt to the requirements of new positions."

In addition, Yang Fang, deputy head of the New Employment Form and Entrepreneurship Guidance Expert Group of the Ministry of Education and director of the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Demonstration Base of Central South University, suggested that colleges and universities should work hard to guide college students to find new jobs and dare to start businesses. For example, career planning education and employment and entrepreneurship guidance courses related to new forms of employment are offered; Strengthen students' assessment of their major, personality and ability, assist students in flexible employment planning, and carry out skills training related to flexible employment; Further promote the docking and borrowing of various roles in universities, governments, enterprises and society, and form a synergy between employment and entrepreneurship guidance in colleges and universities and government policies, industrial needs, and social services.

China Youth Daily / China Youth Network reporter Wei Qiming Wang Haihan Source: China Youth Daily