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Less swotting, more critical thinking, UWI lecturer urges students

Published:Sunday | April 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer

Director of the School of Engineering at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona,

Dr Paul Aiken, has warned that if students coming out of tertiary institutions are to become leaders of Jamaica, they must improve their problem-solving skills.

According to Aiken, students from the high-school level practise swotting, which impedes their ability to think critically when they matriculate to further studies.

"If they are going to be movers and shakers, our students need to find a way to sit down and figure out problems themselves. There is no learning in swotting solutions," Aiken told The Gleaner at a career day event at Wolmer's Boys' School last Friday.

"You must understand why the solution is the solution, and that comes through practice. When they come to UWI, it is too late. Critical thinking needs to start at high-school level, especially at third form," said Aiken.

He added: "The Chinese and Indians are going to run rings around us if we don't learn how to develop your problem-solving skills, especially in the sciences. The good students will be good no matter what, but when we look at the average students who come to us in engineering at UWI, they lack the ability to solve problems.

"They also lack motivation to do it. They want to be told that A, B, C is coming on the exam, so they can swot. They don't want to think."