There is growing recognition globally of the need to teach Critical Thinking as part of formal schooling and of its importance to the very idea of a knowledge economy. The concept of a knowledge economy is defined by the capacity of a society to generate new ideas to meet its needs and challenges as they arise; that is, in its capacity for innovation.  

Although there is much debate about what skills 21st century graduates will need to participate in a culture of innovation, it is clear that these will include a range of transferable cognitive skills that enable them to move across a variety of work environments or areas of research and development. It is also clear that graduates will need to be highly resilient to embrace change as an opportunity and deal with the disruptive effects of innovation.  

Critical and analytical thinking skills are frequently mentioned in attempts to codify the educational goals of the era. Teaching students how to think critically however, requires a reimagining of traditional pedagogies. It requires teaching for thinking

Since its inception in 2012, the UQCTP has endeavoured to assist schools and teachers in preparing students for academic success in the 21st century. The UQCTP enables teachers to articulate reasoning skills within the context of disciplinary knowledge, but in a way that empowers students to transfer the language, skill set, and cognitive awareness associated with critical thinking across into other areas of their lives as well as other disciplines. 

The three main components of the UQCTP program are: 

(1) Professional development for school teachers. 

(2) Extension courses in critical thinking for school students.  

(3) Engagement activities connecting students with the university. 

Official data show that the UQCTP is effectively helping students achieve better argumentation, reading, numerical, and writing skills, with higher relative gains in students of low socioeconomic status.