OPINION: Do Schools Kill Creativity?

In the immortal words of Picasso, he said, “every child is born an artist; the problem is remaining an artist as we grow up”. Every human came into this world with a tremendous talent to create or do something unique, special, original, and true. However, our talents are raw materials that need to be tapped, refined, and nurtured; but sadly, the way our schools are structured does not give much attention to our talents.

Have you ever wondered why people in Nigeria, Africa and other continents leave school to focus on their talents and abilities, and they still become successful? The hierarchy in education does not favour our talents; young minds are being educated away from their talents in our schools that focus more on mathematics and languages, humanities and arts.

Our school subjects are important, albeit creativity is as imperative as literacy in education, and it should be treated with the same dignity. How about we teach dancing, singing, sports and other talents the same way we teach mathematics and languages every day in our schools. The school structure gives little or no attention to talents, hence we stigmatize our children for being creative.

Sir Ken Robinson during his TED talk said, “If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come out with anything original”. Mistakes are the worst thing to make in our school system — you can hardly go or think outside the box on your test or examination sheet — and this questionably hinders creativity. Bill Gates mistakes reflected in his CGPA, likewise he made mistakes in building Microsoft.

This is not to say mistake equals creativity. On the contrary, it helps in achieving originality. Our technologies and work of designs are fuelled with mistakes from trying to view things in different perspectives; giving ingenuity. “Give it back to me as I have given you in your notes”, is one of the creativity-wasting principles in our schooling system.

There was a time an educated person or a graduate has a job waiting, sadly, there are minute vacancies for jobs in government ministries and in the private sectors. Little wonder why we now have a predominant number of “educated” friends and acquaintances into — “trade with us” and “place your order” — accidental and inadvertent online businesses.

My opinion is not in any way supporting leaving school or staying blindly in it. It is appalling that most children just want to graduate with a first degree not even minding the course they are offered or what they graduate with. Sadly, we produce graduates that are going to be jobless and that are arguably unfit for the limited jobs available.

Education is a vehicle to take us into the future that we cannot grasp in the present. As the world is evolving with new demands, it is expedient that we re-design our educational principles — philosophies and ideologies, then we can stop thieving defeat from the jawbones of victory.

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