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Critical Thinking – Most Important but Highly Underrated Skill in Indian Education System

Based on a popular study, quoted by WEF, study shows that more than 65 percent of the primary school kids will end up in a job that doesn’t exist yet. There is no doubt the world is evolving and growing at a much faster speed than any other time in the past. It is evident by the growth of jobs like social media manager, data scientist, growth hacker – jobs which were missing 5 years ago but are some of the most sought after jobs today. While the world around us has changed dynamically, it is unfortunate that our education sector has not kept pace with this rapid transformation. Though the process of studying has developed using technology like a virtual classroom, AR/VR, etc, the depth and breadth of my son’s study curriculum are not very different from what I used to study. While there has been a lot of discussion in the education community about building important 21st-century skill-sets, there is not enough which has really happened on that front. A shift in the mindset of the masses is crucial for a necessary change in the educational ecosystem.

Parents need to start looking beyond marks and help kids cultivate important skills like critical thinking and communication. At the same time, schools need to start emphasizing more on these skill sets. Let the report card talk about other important skills instead of just the subjects. Devote some time specifically during the Parent-Teacher Meetings to discuss these so-called “Softer skills” too. Let there be a specific section on communication in the English language class. And yes, communication is not just about “Letter writing”. It is about choosing the right word to communicate the right intent or idea. As someone who has spent close to a decade working with a leading investment bank in the world, I can tell you that we used to look at marks as only an indicator of seriousness and hard work. Marks have NEVER been an indicator of a person’s intelligence! Hence, all the entrance exams and recruitment tests have a dedicated section on logical reasoning or analytical ability. In fact, this shocking divide on “what we look at in a professional” vs “what we teach in a school to make the kids ready for the professional world” pushed me to jump into the education sector with a purpose to bring about the change. Let’s start introducing kids to critical thinking, both formally in school and informally at home. Let’s give them stuff which makes them think, which makes them exercise their brain and not just rote learn. There is enough research which suggests that puzzles and brain teasers help develop thinking skills and overall intelligence. Whether you believe in these researches or not, one thing is for sure, exercising the brain doesn’t really do any harm. In fact if a child is presented with questions where the difficulty level gradually increases, it is the best way to help develop critical thinking and prepare the child for the world of the future. At LogIQids also, we put a lot of emphasis on personalising the entire critical thinking curriculum, to chart out a unique learning path which is dependent on the child’s unique learning abilities. I think it is high time that both parents and educators come together and join hands in building this essential skill in children.

Besides engaging in brain teasers like puzzles, Sudoku, crossword (or LogIQids) etc, there are several other activities which a parent can do at home to help develop this skill in the child. Something as trivial as planning the schedule for the week or figuring out the most optimal order of cities which one should travel to during a vacation also develops critical thinking. Give the child some real life planning or optimising problem which you are facing, and let the child help you with the solution. Question some obvious things in front of the child and let him or her figure out the answer. Let a child think about an alternate ending to a book. While there are many more things to do, these are some easy to implement tips to help you get started.


Fatema Agarkar

Founder, Agarkar Centre of Excellence Veteran of 3 educational start-ups – is now a Founder of Agarkar Centre of Excellence, Fatema’s passion for teaching-learning and children defines the different roles she has crafted – as an edupreneur, educator and mentor.

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