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Education and innovation for the development of the person

Marta Ormazábal, deputy director of Office of Academic Affairs of Tecnun-School of Engineering of the University of Navarra

PhotoCommunication Service/MartaOrmazabal

02 | 02 | 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken us all. In this context, we should ask ourselves what opportunities this status has given us and be able to draw something good out of such a hard moment that, unfortunately, we have had to live through. We have seen the importance of the Education come to the fore in society, not only because of the difficult moments of family reconciliation, but also because of the educational loss that could be caused by the closure of a classroom. It is not in vain that Education is one of the most important pillars on which the future of any society rests. This idea was very clear to Nelson Mandela, who co-wrote the phrase: " Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world".

On the International Day of the Education, in plenary session of the Executive Council , in the turmoil caused by the Celaá Law and in a course marked by the adaptation of educational centers to health measures, it is interesting to reflect on the current and future challenges that loom over the Education. Firstly, in the specific case of the university world, it is worth asking whether from now on we are going to see teaching being taught remotely, either through live classes by videoconference, or through multimedia content made available to student. In this sense, the latest technological advances have made tool very useful during the months of confinement and have allowed students to continue advancing in their academic instruction. But it is clearly not the same thing. If we think of Education as mere "instruction", or training to pass exams in order to obtain a certain degree, we might think that digital material or online classes would be sufficient.

But in this case we would be missing the most important aspect of the Education: the transforming element that it implies for the person. The United Nations itself defines it as a universal right in its article 26, and adds: "The purpose of Education shall be the plenary session of the Executive Council development of the human personality and the strengthening of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms". It seems difficult to obtain this goal without a coexistence among students, without an interaction between the student body, teachers and professors, from which we are able to bring out the best in each person.

Secondly, in the Education it is important not to lag behind, but we have to be ahead and for this we need to continuously improve, innovating in our teaching to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Covid-19 has "pushed" us teachers out of our comfort zone, to experiment with new teaching methodologies that we will largely maintain in the future. In the same way, we cannot isolate Education from the context that surrounds us, since we are training people who in the future will find themselves in a specific context in which they will have to develop in order to improve it. In this sense, Tecnun, from this academic year, has become part of the CDIO initiative, formed by 120 engineering schools around the world with the goal that Education and the real demands of the engineering world go hand in hand, without losing the fundamentals, but relying on the context and business reality. We have to ensure that our students develop not only technical skills, but also personal, interpersonal, business and entrepreneurial skills, social responsibility and global perspective. I firmly believe that these competencies have to be integrated in the curricula in order to achieve professionals with integrity, who understand the importance of putting the person at the center, both in their life staff and in any work they do.

We teachers are privileged. In our hands lies, to a great extent, the possibility of giving them the tools to acquire their own criteria, to make their own decisions and be consistent with the choices they make, to teach them that failure is often the only way to success, because no one is born knowing. And it is necessary to know how to make mistakes.

On this International Day of the Education, it is good to remember that those of us who have the immense good fortune to dedicate ourselves to the teaching, have a much more important task than simply instructing in certain subjects: our role is, fundamentally, to train the people who will build the world of tomorrow.

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