Life problem solvers needed for the future, says Harvard professor

Forget excelling in exams, young people need to be able to solve the problems of carbon emission, democracy, an ageing population, obesity, housing and more.

Those who rely on examinations alone to measure success may not go far in life, says a Harvard professor.

Dr Connie Chung said the competition would not come from their peers, but from practically anyone out there.

“A journalist’s competitor will be a garage owner who runs a blog. The garage owner might be better than the reporter. That is the future.

“The world is changing fast. The education system that relies on the exam is in trouble,” she said.

Chung was speaking at the Asia Public Policy Forum 2017 co-hosted by the Harvard Kennedy School and the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation here.

She said the education system had to change to keep up with the fast-growing digitalised world or students would not have a place in the future.

“The future needs young people that are able to solve life problems.”

Those sought after by employers are those who can solve the problems of carbon emission, a weakened democracy, an ageing population, obesity, mental issues, housing, wellbeing and more.

“Exams alone might not be what is needed. The world will look for problem solvers.”

Schools need to adopt ways to teach wisdom and judgement to students as there will be an overload of knowledge, and those who have these skills will be in demand, the professor pointed out.

She said education would no longer be about literacy as everyone would be able to read and write. It will instead be about producing good literary work. “And those with knowledge would need to know how to analyse the digital knowledge.”

Chung added that schools and tertiary centres would need to make sure students understood and applied the contents of the syllabus they were taught as theory alone would be of no use to the young.

“So far there seems to be lack of clarity in the way to handle the digital age all over.”

The professor added that tertiary education would survive despite online education and apps, as students would still need to interact with teachers and foster a deeper understanding of the topics they were learning.

“Students would still want to question and debate an issue and cultivate wisdom.”

Source – Free Malaysia Today