Each and every individual has their own unique thoughts and thinking patterns, that is the beauty of human beings. In order for a country to truly achieve success, it is important to cultivate the individual abilities, talents, and creative thoughts of students. This will allow innovation and development in the country.
Unfortunately, however, this is far from what the education system in Pakistan is doing. Rather than celebrating differences and promoting unique and creative thinking, the education system is systematically “killing creativity” in students and instead of pushing them into a box.
As a result, the education system churns students out into robotic people with little capacity for creative thinking and personal decision-making.
Exams: A Standardized Process
The biggest culprit for the systematic killing of creativity in students is the examination system. In Pakistan, annual exams are used to assess the intelligence and progress of students. The criteria for these exams is generally how well students can memorize information and reproduce it on the answer sheet.
Rote learning, or “ratta”, is encouraged for preparing for these final exams. Students are not provided with a chance to express their own opinions, give explanations, or creatively write out their answers. Students who do any of these things, rather than following the exact “formula” for writing out answers are penalized with lost marks.
As a result, students who score high marks on the final exams do not necessarily learn anything. They simply memorize the information and write it out, word for word, on the answer sheet without actually understanding the concepts. Nor are they able to develop problem-solving or analytical thinking abilities. Least of all are they able to harvest their creativity and explore their talents?
Students who do express their creative thinking abilities are unable to score high marks on the final exams, and as a result, they are considered “dull” or “incompetent”. In other words, the standardized examination process does not consider the individual needs, talents, and abilities of each student.
“There is Only One Right Way…”
According to the current education system in Pakistan, there is only one correct answer, and the rest is all wrong. In the real world, this is seldom the case. There are infinite ways to solve a problem, and it is up to the creativity and problem-solving abilities of the individual to find the most effective way to solve the problem.
However, the “my way or the highway” approach of the Pakistani education system kills the creativity and problem-solving abilities of students. As a result, they are unable to think for themselves and find creative solutions to the problems they encounter. It is also the reason why there is a lack of innovation and productivity in Pakistan.
Even teachers who would like to cultivate creative thinking in their students hit a dead end when they are faced with preparing students for the final exams. They are compelled to teach students how to score well on the final exams, which is based on the “one right answer” approach that inevitably kills any room for creativity.
Reviving Creative Thinking in Students
So what can we do in order to revive creative thinking and problem-solving abilities in our students? For starters, we must get rid of the mindset that individuality is bad. As a nation, we must encourage students to develop their creative processes, and provide a platform where they can discover and polish up their talents.
Teachers will play a large role in this. In the classroom, students should be provided with opportunities to express their own opinions and thoughts. Activities such as classroom discussions, creative writing opportunities, and freedom to express logical thoughts should be implemented.
As for the examination process, reforms should be made in order to allow a margin for creativity and individual problem-solving. It is important to understand that students are unique; they have their own capacities and abilities, so one standard examination system cannot effectively reflect their intelligence.
Encouraging and cultivating the creativity of our youth is important not only for their personal development but also for the development of our country as a whole!