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Creativity crisis and economy.

Byline: Muhammad Naeem

TODAY the nation is facing some serious challenges. Economic recession, weak institutions of governance, lack of internal security, matters of international importance that require solutions, from Kashmir resolution to peace in South Asia, and domestic needs such as health care, education, food and water delivery systems. The real culprit in all these challenges is creativity crisis. Creativity has never really been understood in our society, although it is the main objective of any educational policy in all developed countries. China turned its population burden into a useful resource by transforming its educational system. Going up on the Global Creativity Index, their economy is becoming innovation-driven, providing to the needs of the whole world. Competition among their businesses is turning into a game of who can generate the best ideas. Israel's economy grew much stronger in a short time revolutionized by the establishment of research centres in many fields. Today they influence the whole world diplomatically, not because of strong military but only because of innovation-driven strong economy.

Creativity is the ability to produce something original and valuable. The process of creativity requires an open-mind and curiosity for generation of new ideas (divergent thinking or analysis) and then combining these ideas into beneficial result (convergent thinking or synthesis). According to the Global Creativity Index (GCI) of The Martin Prosperity Institute housed at the University of Toronto, Canada, in 2015 Pakistan ranked at the bottom on 111 out of 139 total countries ranked. If we deeply analyse and diagnose our society, the following symptoms suggest that we are suffering from severe creativity crisis. A* Copying each other at all levels. Students lack enthusiasm and copy each other in exams because they are taught with outdated teaching techniques. A* People start the same type of businesses following each other, resulting in total failures. A* Failures of institutions in deliverance of their mandates. A* People lack critical thinking and are vulnerable to propagandas on social media behaving like slaves to public opinion. The main causes of creativity crisis, A* Strict environment at homes and schools suppress the ability to think freely and independently, stifle creative thinking and as a result, children tend to underperform. A* Outdated teaching techniques with rote system for getting maximum marks without understanding the actual concepts. A* Stress of learning many languages in schools and overload stifle children's creativity A* Use of social media by children has numerous negative effects on their mental health (narcissistic, antisocial, and aggressive). A* The number of hours children spend watching TV and playing videogames rather than engaging in creative activities. A* Pessimism and radicalism tend to undermine creative attempts by making them more reluctant to try new ideas with each negative outcome.

Initiatives to be taken at government, businesses, schools and families' levels to overcome creativity crisis, A* The compensation system for different professions is based totally on injustices, with people in some professions paid ridiculous sums, while those in other professions are paid salaries that can not keep them above the poverty level even. Creativity requires an environment where there is uniformity, and people pursue their passions only. A* Outdated bureaucracy stifles creativity in government organizations. Creative workers need to be protected from a hostile environment and paths must be cleared for them around obstacles, because keys to creative output are intellectual challenge and independence. Creative workers can be given targets but not a set agenda, because they set their own agendas. A* Creativity is more motivated by mere little things like a sincere word of public recognition, than by financial rewards. A* An environment needs to created where anxieties about trying new ideas is overcome and the possibility of failure by taking risks is embraced. Learning from failures without fear is critical to creative thinking. A* Laws of copyrights and patents must be developed and strictly implemented to protect creative works and discourage plagiarism. A* Deprived creative professionals (e.g., artists, designers, photographers, potters, sculptors, writers, poets etc.) must be recognized in the form of monetary and civil awards. A*Creative professionals must be identified and given leadership positions in their respective professions.

The present education system is a total failure and must be changed according to the present day demands of multi-million population. Educational development research institutes must be established and creative researchers employed for developing our educational system. A* The primary objective of education must be creativity and critical thinking. A* Present examination system must be changed. We need to focus on creativity and critical thinking and not on marks and first position. A* A relax learning environment must be created by teaching only one language for communication, ideally mother tongue. A* Specialized language schools must be established, if people want to learn additional languages. A* Basic mathematics and science studies (with emphasis on those concepts which arouse interest of observation and critical thinking) must be taught to all the students. A*Religious studies with emphasis on morality, honesty, politeness, sympathies for others, tolerance for others' opinions and personal responsibilities must be taught. A*Creativity requires positivity, truthfulness and love of mankind, while teaching history to the young people. A*Children must be allowed to play freely and independently and must never be stopped asking questions. They ask questions because they are excited about seeing and understanding new things. They lose interest if they are stopped asking questions. The slogan of the present government is change, which can only happen if we could address creativity crisis in educational institutions, offices, businesses and in our homes, otherwise, we would never be able to tackle the challenges we are facing today and would always be dependent on other nations for all our needs, resulting in negative balance of trade, dwindling foreign currency reserves and soaring foreign debt.
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Publication:Pakistan Observer (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Date:Oct 17, 2018
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