Problem Solving Is beyond Robots So Let's All Put Our Heads Together; Education Systems Must Equip Young People with Human Skills in the Face of an Automated World Where Robots May Be Taking Our Jobs, a New Report Warns

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), March 11, 2017 | Go to article overview

Problem Solving Is beyond Robots So Let's All Put Our Heads Together; Education Systems Must Equip Young People with Human Skills in the Face of an Automated World Where Robots May Be Taking Our Jobs, a New Report Warns


Byline: EDUCATION EDUCATION Edited by Abbie Wightwick 029 2024 3765 gareth.evans@walesonline.co.uk k5 k

POLICY.MAKERS need to look to the next skills shortage - the ability to solve problems together, a report published by global innovation foundation Nesta says.

The report shows that complex human traits, like problem-solving and social skills, will be the hardest to automate and so will be the most in demand in the future workplace.

"Solved! Making the case for collaborative problem solving" was produced in partnership with UCL Institute of Education (IOE) and UCL Knowledge Lab.

It calls for policy-makers, educators and innovators to adapt to equip young people with skills needed for the future.

It warns the education system has barriers that stifle such skills. Individual assessment prevails and concerns over behaviour management and lack of training for teachers means that most education systems remain focused on memory and knowledge tasks that are the easiest to automate.

The document shows that giving children well-structured problems to solve together can reinforce knowledge and improve attainment, as well as prepare them for the future workplace.

Knowledge remains important but students must also be able to apply this knowledge, to explain it clearly to others, to combine it with knowledge from other subjects, and be able to use it to solve problems collaboratively, it says.

Geoff Mulgan, chief executive of UK-based Nesta, which works with government, businesses and charities, said: "Education needs to be about more than the transmission of knowledge, important as this is.

"Schooling models should also give young people experience of agency, empowering them to make and shape the world around them, rather than just observing it.

"The ability to create ideas and solve problems with others will be important to their chances of getting a good job, and to their prospects of living well. But policy-makers and teachers need help in integrating this into their work."

Nesta released the report as the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) prepares to launch the first country rankings for collaborative problem solving, which will come out in November this year and will show international recognition of the need to broaden tests to measure "21st-century skills".

The OECD said these subtler skills are becoming more important in an increasingly automated world.

Andreas Schleicher, OECD director for education and skills, said: "In today's schools students typically learn individually, and at the end of the school year we certify their individual achievements.

"But the more interdependent the world becomes, the more we need great collaborators and orchestrators. Innovation today is rarely the product of individuals working in isolation but an outcome of how we mobilise, share and link knowledge. This is why collaborative problemsolving skills have become key to the success of individuals and nations. …

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