In the article, they identify certain global trends that create significant challenges to higher education, such as climate change, global migration flows, political tensions, depression epidemic, digitalisation and robotisation.
Presently, the future is highly uncertain, especially because it is far from clear how the interplay of these trends will reshape both the social fabric and the internal operation of higher education institutions. The only thing we can be sure is that the future will be different from the world we know today.
Furthermore, higher education is about to prepare students for this uncertain and high-risk future. Therefore, it also needs to change itself to fulfil this function. One can envision these changes at different levels: at the level of courses (i.e. the question of what to teach); at the level of methods (i.e. the question of how to teach); at the level of the organisational set-up (i.e. the question of what the university is); and, perhaps most importantly, at the level of the social functions (i.e. what the university is for). To make this even more complex: all of these changes need to be connected and reinforce each other in order to be able to address unseen future challenges. That is why Gábor Király and Zsuzsanna Géring emphasise that anticipation of not only what is probable but also what is possible is needed to envision different kinds of HE. As they wrote in the Editorial:
New forms of HE should prepare students at an individual level, and communities at a social level, for the challenges they will face in the future.