In this interview, we speak with Professor Rasa Subačienė, head of the Department of Accounting and Audit at the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Vilnius University, about the current state of education and the changing priorities of students. While there is a stereotype that each new generation of students is inferior to the previous one, Professor Subačienė emphasized that this is not necessarily true. Each generation is different, with new perspectives and priorities.
1. There is a stereotype that each new generation of students is inferior to the previous one. It is strange to comment on this myth seriously, but we would like you to tell us what current students are distracted by and what was the reason for not passing exams 5 years ago. What is the main threat to a student's education - parties, social networks, computer games, addictive hobbies, burnout, part-time jobs?
I’d never say that each new generation of students is inferior to the previous one. It’s different, with new understanding, point of view, ideas – yes. I’d emphasize such main treats for student’s education: first of all, almost 99% of students already have full-time jobs, so they started their career and they don’t need to prove their qualification for the employers to get a job, secondly, their priorities change in nowadays – more and more everybody (including young people such as students) pays more attention on life and work balance, on another hand usually motivated and ambitious persons seek studies at master level as well as additional qualification such as ACCA, although it’s not always easy to manage time and prepare for the exams at ACCA level.
2. Does the level of students’ awareness change? What percentage of the guys ended up at the faculties by chance / their parents wanted, and how many purposefully came to build their future and are preparing for a career?
I think the level of students’ awareness is changing, they choose carefully what to study and evaluate pros and cons of every study program. More and more people choose to continue their career independently. Often the need of master studies is under the initiative of the employer, sometimes master students come to us out of curiosity or due to a lack of knowledge. However, I am sure that the choice of solution is always determined by personal approach and need.
3. How often do students use Accelerate and what is needed for this from your perspective?
Not as often as we would like. Around 50% of students choose the master program “Accounting and Financial Management” because of Accelerate and teachers do their best to prepare them for the exams, but it’s not always easy to manage time and all issues for students, so not everybody may pass the exams at ACCA level.
4. It is obvious that ACCA partners (like employers) are looking for young talents in order to get qualified and motivated employees. Tell us how quickly a successful student can be noticed and what he/she can do in addition to studying to lay the foundation for a future career.
A successful student is noticed from the first year. Employers are looking for young talents from the first year. So, the process starts in the earliest phase.
5. Education has always been a social lift. From your experience, how much education nowadays is a determining factor in young people's lives?
Nowadays education is important, but not as important as it was. Young people are not afraid to try one program (specialization) or another or even to take a break after school or bachelor studies – to get some time to find herself, to understand what she wants to do in her life.
6. We see that modern approaches to education are becoming more online and digital. How do you think Universities might transform in the future? Will students just need VR to attend the class?
Yes, education is becoming more digital and we have more courses online and this is the transformation Universities must adapt to. But nothing can change the “face to face” meetings and personal relationship. So, I think, besides virtual classes we’ll still have traditional teaching in the future.
In conclusion, while education is still important, young people are more willing to try different programs and take breaks to figure out their career path. As for the future of universities, Professor Subačienė believes that while education is becoming more digital, traditional teaching and personal relationships will remain essential.