The 21st century is definitely the century of innovation, development and ideation. Trends in technology, education and economics are moving towards automation. This revolution that the world is going through, and that is most felt in the workplace, would not have been possible without the preparation of a new generation who in the future will be the flourishing instruments of a dynamic modern world. 

When we say the preparation of young people for a new society and new economy, we refer to some skills which are vital in the individual growth of each of them, physically and mentally, and the benefits of which are felt not only in the individual but also those who surround it. 

These skills are also known as "21st Century Skills", a long list of soft skills, learning skills, literacy skills and life skills. 

Learning skills 

1. Critical thinking: to find unique solutions to modern problems 

2. Creativity: thinking outside the box and engaging in innovations that help global development. 

3. Collaboration: learning how to collaborate and work with others with a team spirit. 

4. Communication: being able to communicate your ideas to others and understanding the perspective of others as well. 

Literacy skills 

5.Information literacy: understanding facts, data, statistics and illustrations. 

6. Media literacy: understanding the media, procedures and platforms on which information is published and disseminated. 

7. Technological literacy: understanding how technologies work are the real engines of the information age. 

Life skills 

8. Flexibility: being able to do a few things and having more than one plan A 

9. Leadership: encouraging the team to achieve goals and keeping the threads together when they seem to be breaking 

10. Initiative: start strategies, projects and planning 

11. Productivity: make the best use of time and maintain efficiency in the era of distraction 

12. Social skills: socialize with others for your own happiness and expand perspective. 

In a world of fierce competition, mastering these 12 skills of the 21st century is more important than ever. 

Should everyone write code? 

Do they all have to be programmers? 

No at all. 

There is a big misconception with the "Everyone has to learn coding". Most people see learning to write computer code as their final destination and that their job is to write the code. 

But it really is not so. A programmer is capable of solving problems. Programming is about solving problems because it covers a set of skills that are usable in our daily lives. 

They are skills that the children of the new generation are losing in their education. Coding is a tool that develops the ability to solve problems. In short, even a doctor, a future sociologist, jurist or economist, must learn coding like any other necessary knowledge in life such as mathematics or mother tongue.  

Programming and children 

Imagine this scenario, parents return home tired from work and immediately look at their child's school bag on the dining table. 

They find the child playing a video game on the computer or iPad and start thinking “Why did we buy this device? Better to study.” 

This narrative seems to have been heard somewhere. Do you think that your child can create his own application? Would this change parents' approach to education and computers? How programming would affect the child and his studies. 

Why should parents teach children coding? 

1. Eliminates the gap between work and leisure. 

The whole idea of ​​learning effectively is to eliminate the knowledge and fun gap. Learning to program is closely related to programming the things you enjoy. 

2. Encourages creativity. 

When we were kids, we always found creative ways to have fun. Although schools try to keep this creativity alive, when you are asked to memorize an entire book, the "think out of the box" concept is killed. 

3. Learn how to integrate different subjects. 

Programming promotes connection to a piece of information and a word or object that is easy to remember. Creating connections between subjects’ cements children’s memory. 

4. Understand failure is what they need. 

Einstein had divergent thinking skills. All his great achievements were because he started everything with a simple question, the solution of which he connected with several possible answers. 

"If I have an hour to solve a problem and my life depends on it, I will spend the first 55 minutes formulating the right question and once I know this question, I can solve the problem in less than 5 minutes." Says the genius Albert Einstein. 

Have you ever seen a contest where you were surprised by the amount of information the contestants could remember? The question you ask is how all that information can be available to you at any time without having to rely on the modern encyclopedia, Google. 

But stop and think for a second. What good is it to get all the information if you are not able to use it? What good is it for you to know that the 17th President of the United States was Andrew Jackson if you do not understand the importance and impact of his presidency on the American Nation after the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln? 

Understanding and comparing that time period within the historical context would be more important. Based on that information we can make decisions in the future. 

Cognitive skills and the mental process during which we analyze, examine, review, and explore to formulate an opinion or action based on acquired knowledge is what we call critical thinking

Simply saying, problem solving, creativity, decision making, organizational and personal planning, strategies, innovations are achieved through a process of critical thinking. 

In the end critical thinking is the ability to look at the world from an objective perspective and not from someone else’s point of view.

The language of the 21st Century, that will unite the World!

Albania is a small country, but with a long history of emigration. For this reason, we had to learn many languages. But how much do we know about the language of the future that will unite the World through it? 

Indeed, the fight against digital illiteracy, or "digital literacy" is one of the most powerful global campaigns that will empower the youth of the knocking century. 

Let us analyze some of the reasons why coding or programming and technology themselves promote some of the most important skills for a modern society such as that of critical thinking. 

"Everyone in this country needs to learn to code, because it teaches you to think," Steve Jobs 

Have you ever thought about what Steve Jobs was trying to say with this saying? 

Is it about coding? 

Every programmer knows how many mistakes he has made in the past in their code, even more than their job. Programming teaches children how to manage mistakes. Whenever they get stuck somewhere, the kids will look back to see where they went wrong and thus build resilience. 

5. Improve attention and concentration. 

While it is a misinterpretation that programming means having to stand for hours in front of a screen, on the other hand programmers spend minutes looking at a single aspect of programming. Thus, they strengthen the concentration and attention by helping them even in school studies. 

A regional education program in the Western Balkans which focuses on "21st Century Schools" is exactly what we were talking about above. Designed and implemented by the British Council, and supported by the UK government, it testifies even more to the importance and credibility that we parent of 21st century children should pay. 

As an innovation consultant, I have been fortunate to be the designer of many teaching curricula for children ages 7-15 in coding and robotics. I say with full conviction that support and trust should be unstinting to such initiatives. The "21st Century Schools" program contains well-thought-out curricula designed by experts in the field where through micro bit equipment funded by the Government of the United Kingdom, Albanian children will have equal access to all their peers. across the Western World, and thus implementing the most innovative practices, they should be critical in their thoughts and decisions, be cooperative, resilient in changing societies or otherwise so-called "resilient citizens", citizens of worthy and competitor of the 21st Century. 

Kushtrim Shala 

Innovation Consultant 

Co-founder of the Innovation Laboratory Center, ICTSlab