Eva Mª Giner Larza: "The university must serve the citizens to find real solutions".
- At the opening ceremony of the new academic year, Dr. Eva Mª Giner Larza, Rector of the International University of Valencia, stressed the importance of the university not only transmitting knowledge, but also training in virtues, rights and freedoms.
- For his part, José Antonio Rovira Jover, Valencian Regional Minister of Education, Universities and Employment, stressed the development of online education as a powerful means of democratising access to quality education.
- The keynote lecture was given by Dr. José Sepúlveda Sanchis, Vice-Rector for Technology and Digital Transformation at VIU, who warned that, in the face of the advance of digitalisation, it is necessary to understand that education is not simply a question of technology, but a complex interaction between tools, methodologies, contexts and, most importantly, human beings.
- The Secretary General of the International University of Valencia, Belén Suárez, took stock of the main figures for the previous academic year 2022-2023.
The Valencia International University (VIU), one of the leading online education institutions in the Spanish-speaking world and part of Planeta Formación y Universidades, ends the 2022-2023 academic year having trained 23,410 students 100% online, 25% of whom are international students, according to the opening ceremony of the 2022-2023 academic year. In addition, VIU's virtual classrooms are home to students of up to 84 nationalities, with an average age of 32 years, more than 65% of whom are women, who receive training from a multicultural teaching staff, already made up of a teaching team of 2,783 professors.
The event, which took place this morning at the Palacio de Congresos de Valencia, brought together more than 250 political, institutional and business representatives, as well as representatives from the world of education and teaching.
Dr. Eva Mª Giner Larza, Magnificent Rector of the International University of Valencia, took the floor to emphasise that "in this new course we want to generate the knowledge that serves students and citizens in their vital improvement, also in that which has to do with thinking and values. Our research, our chairs and doctorates, our seminars, conferences, masterclasses and initiatives will have in this new academic year, more than at any other time, the transfer and its value as a goal".
For the Rector of VIU, this is an objective that "makes universities the epicentre of social change based on research, culture, innovation and the training of talent" and advocates for a university that "seeks real solutions to the issues of our time: ecological transition, digitalisation and its limits, social inequality, educational accessibility and productive transformation. This is how we want to be recognised and identified in the eyes of Valencian and global society". Therefore, she highlights the firm commitment to research and transfer of the International University of Valencia: "our researchers have incorporated in their projects the Sustainable Development Goals such as Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education or the Reduction of Inequalities, thus making visible that their progress is focused and aimed at increasing the quality of life of people," says Eva Mª Giner Larza.
For the Rector of VIU, the most relevant aspect of this is that "the vocation of our teachers and researchers is not only based on criteria of practicality or profitability, but on curiosity and civic impact, ensuring that their progress is focused and aimed at increasing people's quality of life. Their vocation and professionalism is essential to train critical citizens who are committed not only to attending classes, nor to passing subjects, but to the value of life".
For Eva Mª Giner Larza, "the function of the university is not only to transmit knowledge, but also to train in virtues, rights and freedoms: to train in tolerance, after all," she points out, and "these challenges also require the National and Valencian University System to be robust and agile".
Along these lines, José Antonio Rovira Jover, Valencian Regional Minister of Education, Universities and Employment, indicated that the Valencian Government's aim "is not only to consolidate the Valencian university model. We want to promote and develop it so that it continues to be a reference both nationally and internationally. This new academic year represents a great opportunity to grow, learn and contribute to the wellbeing of our society".
The Regional Minister for Education, Universities and Employment highlighted the role of the International University of Valencia, "an institution that has embraced educational innovation and academic excellence as fundamental pillars of its mission". "The evolution of technology has revolutionised the way we access and participate in higher education, which has led to the development of online learning as a powerful means of democratising access to quality education," he said.
He said that online education "has broken down geographical and economic barriers, allowing students from diverse backgrounds and locations to access high-level education without having to compromise their work or family situation".
Finally, Eva Mª Giner Larza, Rector of VIU, thanked the Regional Minister for his presence and alluded to the intention of the International University of Valencia, "we want to complement the very meaning of Valencia and the Valencian Community in the Spanish, European and international scenario, advancing in the positioning and recognition of Valencian university education. The growing international challenges assumed from VIU, and the experience in combining the latest academic and technological challenges, open great expectations of collaborative development that will benefit the society of which we are a part.
For the Rector of VIU, this means "working even harder in this new academic year to ensure that the human point of view prevails in all fields". "With no other possible option, we choose to academically disseminate values of this nature applied to our digital uses, clearly balancing the balance between technology and the human being in favour of the latter," she concluded.
The value of human learning and intelligence, key in today's education
Along these lines, Dr. José Sepúlveda Sanchis, Vice-Rector for Technology and Digital Transformation at VIU warned in his keynote lecture that, although "technologies can offer powerful tools, they cannot, on their own, address the inherent and multifaceted challenges of the educational process". For Dr Sepúlveda, "the real "revolution" in education will always be a combination of tools, pedagogy and a deep understanding of human needs," he said.
In this sense, the Vice-Rector for Technology and Digital Transformation at VIU explained how "our education should not focus solely on memorisation and recall. We need to highlight the value of Active Learning, where discovery and reflection prevail and focus on emotional intelligence. In a world where AI is increasingly present, strengthening these human skills, which AI lacks, becomes even more crucial. We should encourage students to explore deeper meanings, to connect with the real world, to understand contexts, to perceive emotions and moods, and to apply the knowledge they gain in innovative ways."
Dr. Sepúlveda concluded by alluding to this learning model implemented by Valencia International University: "At the end of the day, our goal is clear: to prepare our students for a world where they can use all parts of their brains, challenging them with authentic experiences that tap into their diversity and creativity. Only in this way can we ensure that, regardless of technological advances, every VIU student will find their place in the world, enriched and empowered by the education we provide".
For more information, click here