Education for Problem Solving
A common meaning of the world problem within the context of education is, according to Webster's Dictionary a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution Problem solving is the act of thinking creatively-and-critically about ways to tackle an undesirable situation.
You will agree with me that an important goal of education is to help students learn how to think. Education for problem solving will help students to think more productively by helping them to combine creative thinking skills to generate ideas and critical thinking skills to evaluate ideas. Being able to apply both thinking skills are necessary for becoming a well-rounded and productive thinker. These are the kind of minds we desperately need in Nigeria and in Africa as a whole.
Nigeria is a country replete with problems begging to be solved. Africa is a continent largely underdeveloped and bogged down by problems left unattended. These problems have over time deteriorated into monstrosities that we are too afraid to even think about ways to tackle them.
But the truth remains that these problems exist and must be solved if we are to make life better in our country and continent.
My thinking is, we should tailor our educational system such that learners are equipped and empowered to solve problems, our problems; problems we are facing now and the ones we may not even know we need to solve because we are blinded by the humongous ones we have known and lived with for so many years.
This approach to education will help students to improve a wide variety of abilities some of which I had mentioned earlier critical thinking and creative skills. Other skills students will learn when we tailor our education for problem solving are: collaboration skills, communication skills, leadership and personal productivity skills, flexibility and adaptability skills, among others.
Furthermore, educating learners for problem solving will heighten their awareness of the world around them, the problems in that world, and how they can play a role to make the world a better place. This will help to even promote peace and unity as learners will grow to appreciate the value of human life because their education helps them to focus on human suffering and limitations with a view to alleviate suffering and break down the barriers of limitation. A learner who is educated to think in this way will not go on to pursue fulfilment in actions that are destructive to human existence.
Instead their energy will be channeled towards contributing to the advancement of their families, communities, nation, and world. Education for problem solving signals an end to education that is abstract devoid of practical connections to real world challenges and ushers in a new dawn where learners can easily make the connection between what they are learning in the classroom to what they can contribute to their world.