The future(s)-ready graduate: Whose future? Which graduate?


  • Kasturi Behari-Leak



In what would have been the closing keynote of the ICED 2020 conference, I would have asked us all to critically reflect on the conference theme “The Future-Ready Graduate” to acknowledge the need to be “future-ready” in higher education, and to take the future seriously in light of impending challenges such as climate change, sustainability goals, access and success, inequality, and so on. I would have reminded us to take our gleanings from the conference to shape our pedagogy, curricula and assessment practices in our own contexts. All this because the emergence of the future-ready graduate depends on how we as educators, academics, academic developers and other stakeholders are prepared to engage with a future that envisages a life that goes beyond conventions and traditions into multimodal careers and alternative workplaces – but also a life beyond injustice and depravation so that people can become self-reliant and self-determined. Time and place are always important, I would have said! New future contexts are dependent on who we are in our current contexts, so we need to look at these critically to decide how to work towards a future that is sustainable and beneficial for us all.