Critical thinking and problem solving are key words in 21st century schools, which make some of the main goals in the context of school education but also in general education.

Critical thinking is the ability to analyze and evaluate facts about a particular aspect that contributes to the formation of an opinion or attitude about that aspect. Building such skills is already a formal teaching objective and part of the school curricula of almost all teachers and professors at all levels of education in the Republic of Kosovo and in the broader world. Experienced teachers, almost all of them have been trained by various organizations for critical thinking, while those who are younger have learned these concepts even during their formal education. But, as in school practice research, debates or similar forms of learning find limited application, it remains an open question as to how far critical thinking and problem-solving is achieved in young people in the learning process.

Global industries are already seeking to develop further through the identification of new potentials, both for their raw materials, as well as through the improvement of products, creative technological solutions and new ways of communication. Obviously, today's industries have reached a high degree of development therefore their advancement can only come from innovation and not from the normal evolution of their development. Critical thinking is the most effective way of solving problems that these industries may encounter but also opportunities for new discoveries in various fields. Therefore, critical thinking helps students to learn from the learning process itself by having the opportunity to challenge the whole process and not just focus on learning the ready-made results and existing knowledge already found in the literature.

Normally, critical thinking as a new concept, almost 20 years old in our country, requires a new approach, different from that of focusing only on formal learning. Thinking and critical thinking during the learning process serve a lot to achieve the best results and to complete the profile of a student continuously.

Critical thinking as a skill to think clearly and rationally as well as to understand and logically connect ideas, is especially necessary in the field of information technology.

Information technology is no longer just an aid to various industrial processes, it is the industry itself. In a ranking of new skills and jobs, prepared by the well-known portal, the main skills now required in the world are listed as follows: cloud computing, artificial intelligence, sales leadership, analytics , translation, mobile application development, people management, video production and audio production, blockchain, creativity, etc. In a list out of 20 skills required for the future, over half of them are directly part of the field of information technology, while the other half of them actively involve the use of information technology.

The rapid development of technology and its imposition as part of everyday life has enabled that, the bias that existed especially during the 20th century, that engineering and technology belong more to the male world have now remained only a part of the history. The number of girls and boys learning coding and programming is almost identical at young ages in the Republic of Kosovo. The personal experiences of our team in Open Data Kosovo, where 3 leaders have managed to be included in the list of the prestigious newspaper Forbes 30 Under 30, show that in this field, gender is not an advantage or a disadvantage. You just need a vision, a computer and get started, either by learning coding online or by taking part in the many courses that currently exist in Kosovo.

Of course all these advanced skills come into practice, after writing and reading and other elementary knowledge, but all of these require a creative approach to critical thinking, in spite of the traditional memorization lesson which has been intended to remember many results without a great focus on the process itself of how we came to the result.

Information technology has changed everything in our functioning, from our personal life to the advanced professional one. Many things are now done online, from the usual buying and selling, browsing newspapers and portals to meeting new people. When we see various complicated processes operating online, such as the stock markets of the world's largest companies, while we have the opportunity to invest in them with a few clicks, sometimes images of computer programmers appear before us, imagining them locked in a dark room that does not stop working over 20 hours a day.

However, the news lies in the fact that today, even coding and programming have been simplified so much that almost anyone and at any time can start programming. 

Dafina Olluri

Deputy Director at Open Data Kosovo