Third Generation University Plan Launched

Third Generation University Plan LaunchedThird Generation University Plan Launched

The Third Generation University plan was initiated by the Health Ministry to expand the functional areas of medical universities from merely conventional study and research to entrepreneurship and cooperation, in order to tackle the economic problems.

Third generation universities seek to play a major role in addressing a nation’s critical problems, by linking industry and the labor market to create jobs alongside education and research.

The plan has been communicated to medical universities and a broad mission has been defined for each one which they must work towards accomplishing, IRNA reported.

Based on the new program, universities are required to train their students so that they can create start-ups rather than look for a job after graduation.

“The fact that a PhD holder has to look for a job is a major structural deficit which our higher education system is facing,” said Baqer Larijani, deputy health minister, adding that by the time of graduation, students should have gained the skills and ability to create one or more jobs.

To implement this new system in medical universities, the curriculum of all disciplines, especially fundamental sciences, has been revised and reformed. A new subject titled ‘entrepreneurship’ has been added to all medical majors and will be supplemented with a two-module workshop so as to familiarize students with the job market related to their subjects. Professional ethics lessons are envisioned as well to improve ethical standards in the medical community.    

To meet the goals of the program, virtual education capacities will also be used. The website of the ministry’s virtual university has been tasked with certain missions.

   Knowledge-Based Industry

Students will learn about knowledge-based organizations and how to promote them in the country. “This new move is also in line with the 20-Year Vision Plan (2005-2025) by which the country’s economy must develop to be knowledge-based,” said Larijani.

“The outcome of the new approach will hopefully be independent university graduates who would be able to stand on their own feet and lead the country towards advancement and progress,” the official said.

Currently, 60 universities of medical sciences are training 180,000 students under the supervision of the ministry.

Globally today, a significant debate is going on about the structure and purpose of the conventional university system. Basic education principles have been called into question. Supporters of the old ideal of free and non-goal-oriented research predict a universal capitalist take-over while opponents claim that the commercialization of research is a necessity for further scientific advancements.

Regardless, there is support for the change towards the commercialization of research as supporters argue that there is no chance of survival for the old system. The older system is essentially a manual for understanding and managing the transition from the current form of university to the Third Generation University (3GU), according to Prof. J.G. Wissema, one of the supporters of the change towards the commercialization of research. He is Professor Emeritus of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands and author of ‘Towards the Third Generation University.’

The book was written for university leaders as well as university partners to help them acknowledge and subsequently implement the current changes in the international university system. The book’s central message is that the university we know today is a dying model, and we are currently in a transition period towards the Third Generation University.

The main differences between the first (medieval), the second (Humboldt model), and the third (current and coming) university systems are the underlying objectives. In medieval times the focus was on education and the memorization of material. Gradually, a focus on research emerged, and in today’s world universities will not survive without the commercialization of research as a third objective.

Wissema describes modern research as tech-business: technology as a tool for realizing profit, because research is business. He names the concept of open innovation and external developments as important steps for creating know-how and encourages the establishment of new companies (“Technostarters”) as tools for its exploitation.