To improve critical reasoning among Nigerian students, especially at the secondary school level, Chief Operating Partner, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria, Pedro Omontuemhen, wants the game of chess included in the secondary schools’ curriculum.
While speaking at the third edition of the Chess4Change Competition in Lagos State, recently, he said chess game, if incorporated in the curriculum, apart from facilitating critical reasoning, also enhances deep and strategic thinking.
He said the positive influence of chess on individuals who play the game was what prompted the organisation to inaugurate the competition, by creating chess clubs in Lagos public secondary schools, and providing chess teachers.
Omontuemhen said following the success of the pilot scheme, which was launched in 2014, the programme was expanded to accommodate six additional schools in the second season, bringing the number of schools to 12.
He added that in the third season, six more schools were included in the programme, bringing the total number of schools to 18.“The overall aim of the Chess4Change programme is to teach children how to focus, concentrate and be strategic in their thinking. This is because while playing chess, they will have to anticipate what their opponents are going to do.
It is a live skill that will impact both their social and academic skills. There is need for policy makers to include the game in the curriculum. It also keeps children out of trouble,” he said.
Noting that chess should be used as a tool of change, he added that the purpose should not only focus on attracting students to learn a new game, but also to affect their overall academic performance and keep them out of peer trouble.
Omontuemhen, who advised students to learn how to play chess despite its being alien to the curriculum, stressed that since pupils learn how to surf the net, chess can be learnt without any stress.
He further explained that the Chess4Change competition is not elitist as public schools were also sponsored to the competition as against private schools, adding that last year, Jessica Pelomo, from a public secondary school in Lagos State, represented Nigeria in South Africa.