OPINION: Do schools kill creativity?

OPINION: Do schools kill creativity?

By Rameez MAHESAR

I must state from the outset that the title of my current article is derived from an opinion entitled “Creative thinking and our school system” by Leo Lgwe which was published some days ago in The Daily Times newspaper of Nigeria.

The writer refers to the speech of Sir Ken Robinson – a gilt-edged personality known for multifarious things especially a Ted Talk where he tossed a memorable question: “Do schools kill creativity?” The talk that Sir Robinson delivered has over 65 million viewers. In his talk, he was regretting, as the writer quotes Robinson, that schools of today are not performing well to foster innovation and creativity.

However, the school system varies from country to country. In developing countries, the lack of creativity is the central challenge which bars them from going through the ceiling. In most of the countries, schools are running only to mint money and they have nothing to do with creativity. Rather than nurturing the ingenuity in children, schools asphyxiate their skills. Let’s extend this malpractice to my country – Pakistan.

In the distant past, the country’s government schools were running smoothly, and even in the absence of an internet-based environment, they were producing competent children. But everything has since changed and children in the same governmentled schools have turned purblind.

It happened because private schools aim at minting money . I myself decided to determine the perceptions of people towards Sir Ken Robinson’s inquiry: “Do schools kill creativity?” I put his query on my WhatsApp and it garnered over 200 views within a couple of hours. The vast majority of the viewers stayed silent and around 3o people gave their responses to this question. 20 out of those 30, filed the objection that the curriculum being offered to children is outmoded and it cannot bring about creativity in students.

 Few of the respondents mocked parents as the major stumbling block in the way of creativity of their children. For the remaining people , ‘no!’ was their retort to the question. On the flip side, choice for children of what and how to do is also in the hands of others from parents to friends and then their teachers. They do not have the free will to choose what they really want to do. The restricted will for them is also another faltering episode in the way of creativity. Now, here comes the matter of usefulness of creativity.

What is the use of creativity? The answer to this question could be observed from job advertisements coming through newspapers or airing on television channels. Businesses, companies, organizations and so on seem to be looking for fresh-minded people having creative cum fresh ideas that could bring forth prosperity and solutions to their problems.

Businesses want to hire those who are problemsolving machines and who would grow as well. Thus, innovation as well as creativity are of high-level resources in this regard. Regrettably, rote learning defines here the system of primary education which makes students to rote and regurgitate only what they have been taught before. This gags the pupils from adopting fresh and different ideas, and also from thinking out of the box.

To this end, here are the few things to be carried out in the education sector. A subject should be introduced in the schools that could teach the pupils how to generate and innovate. Children should embrace creativity. From primary level, schools ought to introduce the techniques of creative thinking . Creative thinking must also be implied in all the disciplines and subjects as well.

Henceforth, to foster creativity in schools, the learning culture must change. Without the implementation of the proposals above, we cannot expect our children becoming business managers or company executives in the future. Nor can our children create new jobs or solve other problems facing the country – Pakistan.

Mahesar, a member of the editorial board of a Russian research journal Bulletin of Science and Practice, writes from Pakistan.

He can be contacted at rameezalimahesar@gmail.com

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