Education for generation Z: what it should be like

17 January 2019
Education for generation Z: what it should be like

On the final day of the Gaidar Forum, the RANEPA held a discussion on the “Bachelor Program for Generation Z”. Participants discussed the main challenges facing higher education institutions in the digital age, and the specifics of requests for educational programs.

The moderator of the meeting, Alexey Svishchev, Deputy Dean of the Institute of Business and Business Administration of the RANEPA, set the following task for the participants: identify the basic needs of students of the 21st century and determine how to adapt training courses to these needs. During the discussion, he told that he began his teaching activities at 22, when the difference with students was 3-4 years, and then he himself first felt this generation gap. In his report, Alexey Svishchev presented the main results of the analysis based on feedback from IBS students. The main criteria for representatives of the generation Z are:

1. The speed of knowledge obtaining (today, no one wants to spend lots of time and methodically develop skills and knowledge).
2. Digitization of all educational material and processes.

Michel Motte, Director for International Academic Affairs, NEOMA Business School, supported the moderator’s words about the desire of the new generation to see immediate results. In a situation where students do not get these quick results, they "give up" and are even expelled from universities. Also, students are not willing to work for companies that do not intend to respect their interests and individual peculiarities. An important role for the younger generation is the ability to choose their own path. Single-profile programs lose their relevance, the students want to build their own training program independently. “Individual personal development and reflection are basic needs, because we are preparing specialists for vacancies that do not even exist yet,” the speaker stated.

Thomas Simpson, a professor at Wilmington University, spoke about his vision of the necessary modernization of educational programs. As the speaker noted, these conclusions are based on the experience of personal interaction with students of the Faculty of Economics. Firstly, there is a need for the internationalization of education, it will allow to generate flows of students from different countries. Further, it is necessary to include more team projects in the program – this is an important part of business education.

Employers also shared their ideas about the modern concept of education. Kirill Babaev, PR Director at Sberbank, started by saying that among the representatives of generation Z there are too few people who want to conquer space, they want ordinary personal benefits. The main thing for the “Z”s is the development of soft skills, strategic thinking and leadership, they would not cope with this on their own. The new generation does not have much independence, they have been too much taken care of since childhood. This task should be fulfilled by universities. Despite this, Z willingly increase their hard skills, if they really feel the need. Moreover, in modern realities, large employers are able to provide all the necessary knowledge on their own. The speaker recalled that Sberbank has its own corporate university and a developed online training platform where employees are trained. “Besides, knowledge quickly becomes obsolete. We are discussing only the draft of the new bachelor program, it will take too long until we release the first group of graduates. Now it is fashionable to create programs based on the blockchain. Probably, in a couple of years, this word will already seem archaic, ”concluded Kirill Babaev.

Alexander Voronin, co-founder of the project “My City”, expressed his dissatisfaction with the speed of changes in the field of education: “In 30 years, I have heard only one new word – the USE (uniform state exam)”. Also, Alexander Voronin expressed doubt that every eleventh grader should go to university, because 70% of all graduates do not even work in their specialty. “At the moment, I believe that one of my best employees is a girl who basically has no higher education. Most people need practical knowledge, for example, financial literacy. People often don’t even know how to get a loan and how to pay it back, ”the speaker concluded.

The opportunity to express their position was given directly to the representative of the generation Z. The IBS first-year student Daniil described the main problem as the lack of communication and understanding between students and the teaching staff.

The speakers agreed that not every person needs a higher education. Society must find high-quality alternatives for people who are willing to work with their hands or who are capable to benefit society with their creative work.

Anzhela Lulikian, RANEPA

All records of live broadcasts from the Gaidar Forum 2019

10th Gaidar Forum Organizers:

The Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA);
The Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute);
The Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The general partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom and Gazprombank; strategic partners include Prosveshcheniye publishing house, Coca-Cola, Pharmstandard group, ACIG Group of Companies, the Russian Textbook Corporation, SANOFI, Novartis, Johnson & Johnson, Russian Railways, MSD, and Mastercard; EY, Cisco and Russian Direct Investment Fund are partners. This discussion’s partners are Philips, Cherkizovo and RVC.

The general information partners of the Gaidar Forum include the Rossiya 24 TV channel, Forbes global media company, RBC and TASS news agencies. The official information agency is Rossiya Segodnya. The general radio partner is Business FM. The strategic information partners are Kommersant Publishers, the RT TV channel, Interfax and Gazeta.RU. The main information partners are Profil weekly, FederalPress news agency, and Invest Foresight online magazine. The international information partners are Sputnik and Cision. Other media partners include PRIME news agency, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, RNS news agency, Radio Ekho Moskvy, News.Ru,, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, the PRO BUSINESS TV channel, Strategia magazine, AK&M, BRICS, Ekonomika i Zhizn weekly, National Banking Journal, Expert Tatarstan magazine, the Smart Country information platform, Financial One, Naans Media, and the Public Administration scientific political journal.

Gaidar Forum Program

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