A critical inflection point
Two years after the development of Relevance. Reach. Renewal., the world is at a critical inflection point. As a result of COVID-19, we are experiencing a dramatic acceleration of existing trends. Baby boomers are retiring faster; work environments are evolving faster; service and retail industries are changing faster; and new technologies are being adopted faster.
We are confronting a period of economic stagnation, with some sectors thriving, yet many under significant pressure. Governments are spending to support individuals and businesses, but there will be a bill to pay.
Specific to post-secondary education, learner demand is shifting because of physical restrictions and the state of the economy.
Learners are experiencing added financial pressures and are expecting more in terms of value. International student mobility has been severely constrained, at least in the short term, and there is accelerated growth in demand for skills-based and modular learning. Remote learning will play a more prominent role in higher education, even after the restrictions dissipate, amplifying the pressure for differentiation given new levels of student capacity to compare online offerings and switch providers.
The pandemic has also reinforced inequities in the access to higher education. A proportion of students are at risk, especially those already facing systemic disadvantage.
BCIT is well positioned in this context, with skills and resources closely aligned with the demands of the time. These strategic advantages include traction in customized and flexible learning, notably through Part-time Studies; a provincial mandate for workforce development; close industry and government relationships; and expertise in key sectors and fields, such as technology, health, trades, and sustainability.
Our task in reviewing the Strategic Plan was to ensure that BCIT leverages differentiating strengths and momentum to address the new and shifting requirements of students, employees, and industry.