Universities claim that they impart critical thinking to students as a “graduate attribute”.
Look at any carefully-prepared institutional list of hoped-for graduate attributes.
It was ranked higher than skills in “innovation” and “application of information technology”.
Surprisingly, 92.1% regarded critical thinking as important, but 69.6% of employers regarded higher school entrants to university “deficient” in this essential skill.
Employers increasingly recognise what is needed in graduates is not so much technical knowledge, but applied skills, especially skills in critical thinking.
These skills are also said to be important within companies themselves as drivers of employee comprehension and decision making. If we do not have a clear idea of what it is, we can’t teach it.
A 2015 report by the Foundation for Young Australians claims demand for critical thinking skills in new graduates has risen 158% in three years.
This data was drawn from an analysis of 4.2 million online job postings from 6,000 different sources in the period 2012-2015.
To counter these trends, a group of politically diverse scholars have set up a Heterodox Academy.
They agitate for the importance of teaching students how – not what – to think.