The higher education is gradually shifting from passing of knowledge and now it has started to draw its attention to aligning educational objectives to that of business and the government. This sudden shift has spurred a lot of debates on what the role of higher education should be in regards to producing graduates who have the skills and knowledge that can earn them employment (Dunne, 2017). In the contemporary society, it is clear that relying technical training cannot graduates credibility in the job market. Graduates need to have graduate attributes that can assist them to maneuver through the job market and emerge competitively. This paper seeks to expound the issue of graduate attributes by deeply analyzing seven articles written by authorities in the field of business and management. In addition, the paper aims to bring out the gist of what is unknown about the matter that concern graduate attributes in the contemporary environment.
Graduate attributes on the face of the world
Owing to the reality of increase of foreign students from the Middle East in the United States studying in the universities, relays a clear message of how education is valued. Every country even the one that is seen to have its roots in religion wants its graduate to have the necessary skills to be able to maneuver the market industry and deliver. All this issue of graduate attributes is discussed in the article by Osmani, Weerakkody and Hindi, (2017). In the article it is realized that besides the technical competence that a graduate must be equipped with, skills such as time management, creativity and also research skills prove to consequential skills that the market industry in the Middle East is looking when considering a graduate employability level.
Many people come to the west and Europe for quality education (Vilapakkam Nagarajan and Edwards, 2014). Australia is one of the destinations of international students who aim to get the best education. However, Australian universities are very keen on ensuring that their students are equipped in generic skills which are aimed to assist a graduate to manage stress, solve problems, control emotion and also be able to make sound decisions. However, Campbell, (2010) does not believe that international students need to be subjected to have generic skills since they come from a different community with different cultures. There the society, politics, culture among other factors influence generic capabilities of international students while at home which is not in tandem with that of Australia.
Open distance learning has been in existence for not more than four decades (Rowe, 2016). The advent of the internet has brought forth a new form of learning that does not dictate one to attend a physical class. This is where one can enroll, learn, do exams and graduate on the internet. Coetzee, (2014), tries to link graduate attributes and Open distance learning. In the article, the author emphasizes the dire need for an Open distance learning student to have qualities such as self-control, determination, resilience, and quality focus for one to go through the whole Open distance learning seamlessly. Ultimately, without the above qualities which fall under generic skills, Open distance learning will not be of any significance.
Relationship between graduate attributes and competencies
Institutions of higher education have made the necessary steps to ensure that graduate students are equipped with the competencies of the relevant training. This is done through rigorous tests and practical activity. However, one major question that arises is that how do institutions of higher learning ensure that graduate attributes are actually instilled in the students. Hopkins, Raymond and Carlson, (2011) ponders this issue through their article by addressing the assessment methods of graduate attributes capabilities of university students. It is evident that there need to be motivational speakers, activities outside the classroom, group interaction and also workshops to ensure that graduate attributes are realized fully.
What happens when almost all graduates have graduate attributes? This is an important question that employers ask themselves with new professional graduates from institutions of higher learning. The most important aspect is to grade the new professionals according to their level of graduate attributes. Whelan, (2017) exposes that workplaces do not hesitate to pass graduates through tests during hiring to ascertain that graduate attributes are actually instilled in the graduates. In this case, just having signs of graduate attributes does not guarantee one a clean bill of health in the job market, the graduate attributes must be shown to work in the actual employment places and as per one’s profession.
In the contemporary job market, it is seemingly clear that the current education system seems not to be efficient as it used to be believed. Many organizations are having difficulties in filling up positions for the contemporary graduates. Scott, (2014), in his article, he does not hide the fact that personal attributes are more important in a workplace after competencies. Through this article, one can easily learn that graduate attributes and personality go hand in hand and are inseparable. For this reason, the first year of employment serves as an observational period of a fresh graduate to compare how the graduate attributes are congruent to one’s personality.
The last article tries to stand out from the above discussed. (Kristine Mason O'Connor) tries to relate the significance of graduate attributes with the moral dictates of the society. Each society, family that one hails from having believed in different moral standards, values, and norms. Such aspects as indicated by Mason O'Connor, Lynch and Owen, (2011) shapes the behavior of an individual. For this reason, it is necessary that institutions of higher learning, the universities should closely engage the communities in a bid to pinpoint the imitable characters that are important for a graduate to have. In this connection, there should be a link between graduate attributes and the positive moral values that exist in societies.
In conclusion, it is evident that institutions of higher learning specifically the universities are mandated to not only equip learners with training but also graduate attributes which is important for graduates to maneuver through the competitive work environment. Most employers shifted their methods of hiring from seizing to not only look for the academic qualifications but also make sure that an individual person should be a major point of concern when selecting an employee. From the above articles, it is no secret that even in the Middle East, the universities at that position ensure that among the skills learned in university is graduate attributes. The preceding articles bring into light the various ways in which graduate attributes play an important role in highlighting the way a person will be of high value in an organization. From the article, it is evident that the society needs to be involved in the equipping of students by portraying good moral standards that can be emulated and be integrated into the university training.
Campbell, A. (2010). Developing generic skills and attributes of international students: the (ir)relevance of the Australian university experience. Journal Of Higher Education Policy And Management, 32(5), 487-497. doi: 10.1080/1360080x.2010.511121
Coetzee, M. (2014). Exploring the mediating role of graduate attributes in relation to academic self-directedness in open distance learning. Higher Education Research & Development, 33(6), 1085-1098. doi: 10.1080/07294360.2014.911260
Dunne, J. (2017). Work placement reflective assessments and employability enhanced through highlighting graduate attributes. Journal Of Teaching And Learning For Graduate Employability, 8(1), 40. doi: 10.21153/jtlge2017vol8no1art616
Hopkins, C., Raymond, M., & Carlson, L. (2011). Educating Students to Give Them a Sustainable Competitive Advantage. Journal Of Marketing Education, 33(3), 337-347. doi: 10.1177/0273475311420241
Mason O'Connor, K., Lynch, K., & Owen, D. (2011). Student?community engagement and the development of graduate attributes. Education + Training, 53(2/3), 100-115. doi: 10.1108/00400911111115654
Osmani, M., Weerakkody, V., & Hindi, N. (2017). Graduate attributes in higher education: Examining academics' perception in the Middle East. Journal Of Education For Business, 92(2), 53-64. doi: 10.1080/08832323.2016.1274713
Rowe, M. (2016). Developing graduate attributes in an open online course. British Journal Of Educational Technology, 47(5), 873-882. doi: 10.1111/bjet.12484
Scott, B. (2014). Graduate attributes and talent perceptions: Reflections on the first year of graduate employment. Peer Reviewed Citation Only Bookmark And Share More Information About This Publication Graduate Attributes And Talent Perceptions: Reflections On The First Year Of Graduate Employment International Journal Of Employment Studies, 22(1), 39-59.
Vilapakkam Nagarajan, S., & Edwards, J. (2014). Is the graduate attributes approach sufficient to develop work ready graduates?. Journal Of Teaching And Learning For Graduate Employability, 5(1), 12. doi: 10.21153/jtlge2014vol5no1art565
Whelan, M. (2017). Road testing graduate attributes and course learning outcomes of an environmental science degree via a workintegrated learning placement. Asia-Pacific Journal Of Cooperative Education, 18(1), 1-18.