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Computational Thinking & Algorithmic Intelligence

A March 2016 report of World Economic Forum says that from the year 2020 onwards, students will need to Collaborate, Communicate and Solve Problem; these being key skills for Jobs. Unfortunately for India, neither the parents nor Schools today realize that their focus on high scores in conventional Math, English & Science subjects and board exams will do any good for their child. Schools can do very little because parents demand focus on exam scores. It’s a vicious cycle of demand and supply which is already showing dangerous trends of growing number of Engineering graduates with little or no skills and no employability .Yet even today , parents insist on getting their children to join Engineering entrance coaching classes and eventually engineering colleges.

Top 10 Skills

in 2020

  1. Complex Problem Solving
  2. Critical Thinking
  3. Creativity
  4. People Management
  5. Coordinating with Others
  6. Emotional Intelligence
  7. Judgment and Decision Making
  8. Service Orientation
  9. Negotiation
  10. Cognitive Flexibility

in 2015

  1. Complex Problem Solving
  2. Coordinating with Others
  3. People Management
  4. Critical Thinking
  5. Negotiation
  6. Quality Control
  7. Service Orientation
  8. Judgment and Decision Making
  9. Active Listening
  10. Creativity

The World Economic Forum report says that Critical Thinking & Complex Problem Solving will be the top two skills needed in 2020 for Jobs. By the time the current lot of primary grade students hit the job market in 2030, Algorithmic Intelligence & Computational Thinking will be key to great jobs and careers. These skills are not only related to the ability to write code. Instead these are skills which allow children to become better problem solvers.

Children learn how to break down complex problems into sub -problems , create steps to design solutions to these problems and then finally create the solution itself. This is not just needed for engineers or scientists but is critical for all job types and work profiles. The Coding Myth: Parents of young children ages 5 to 10 years often ask the following questions –

  1. Why do my children need to learn coding now at this age?
  2. Can’t they learn it later during their High School days or probably even later during college.

The answer to these questions is pretty simple .

  1. Primary age group is formative years for children. Most of the cerebral growth and wiring happens in this age. The ability to learn new things- languages, skills and behaviours is remarkably better in this age than later.
  2. Skills involved in coding are useful cross-curricular skills. These are Thinking skills that our students need in the 21st century. These skills will be useful for them as they grow up into high school and decide whether they need to pursue Liberal Arts, Law, Commerce, Science or something else in life.

I hope schools wake up to these realities. Our lead in late 1990s and early 2000s made us an IT power house where we rode on high volume of trained IT engineers. The World has moved on and is moving fast towards a space where Machine Learning & AI will create highly evolved Bots. These bots will replace most human led jobs. The new jobs of the 21st Century will be meant for those with Strong Computational Thinking Skills and Algorithmic Intelligence.

I would be happy to ideate on this and more with other stake holders from the community. You can write to me on rahul@alphabyte.education

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