Critical thinking and the future of education and training

In the field of education and training, the current pandemic has highlighted the issue of the future of universities. In a recent book ‘The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World’, Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott, professors at London Business School, argue that, even before the pandemic, ‘the traditional three-stage life model – full-time education, full-time work, full-time retirement – was breaking down. People were wanting to go back and learn more, particularly since our jobs are being automated.’ People, they argue, want to develop skills that they can take back into the labour market.  Critical thinking fits very well into this category, especially since it has recently been identified as the number one soft skill that the majority of managers find lacking in new graduates, and as the skill they want their staff to develop. Since the marketplace for adult education is 10 times larger than that for the 18-21 group, we need to look at how we can meet the needs of such a market, including the provision of training programmes in critical thinking. (This would fit with what Professor Scott has referred to as the probable ‘market shift towards short-term, flexible distance learning’.)


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