Creativity in Asian schools?

This is a short, interactive video by renowned educator Sir Ken Robinson who talks about problems with our current education system – standardized testing, rigid curriculum structure, conformity and of course, the dearth of creativity in schools.

After watching this video, I could not help but agree with some of what Sir Robinson was saying.

In Asia, the myth is that majoring in science-related subjects will lead to better job prospectus, which in turn also does fulfill the needs of industrialization.

With hindsight, my path down the sciences was certainly not enjoyable and at times arduous because I was studying for subjects that were of little interest to me. But as myths typically perpetuate the psyche of the society, it was hard to convince my parents that studying the alternative – arts subjects including history, literature and geography – had much future to them.

Moreover, the rigidity of the education system, which largely geared students towards taking nationwide exams, made being in it suffocating.

Studying was about learning how to answer exam questions and less about fun or broadening students’ knowledge about the subject. Certain questions had to be answered in a certain way and deviation from the standard essay structure is discouraged.

Sadly to say, there was very little creativity involved. Rather I remembered spending a lot of time slogging through my stack of notes, trying hard to memorize concepts and formats and wishing that I could be done with them soon.

Such a formulaic approach towards education so far benefited many Asian economies in the post-war years, resulting in rapid development and progress.

But as we gradually move into an era that emphasizes on creative industries, the big question then is if we would continue to gain from this education model, which Sir Robinson was trying to point out in the video.

If the ideas of Sir Robinson have stirred your interest, I would definitely recommend one of his books “The Element,” which talks about maximizing your inner potential and interests. Do read my book review on it here.

Any thoughts about the education system in your country? Please leave your comments below


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