Is our education system undermining children’s creativity?

Imagination is more important than knowledge.  For knowledge is limited while imagination embraces the whole world.

(Albert Einstein)

Creativity is an elusive concept.  It is what makes us unique as individuals. It is what sets us apart. While at the same time creativity is something intangible that unites us all in common humanity.

All children all born creative.  Have you ever asked a four year old can she/he draw? “Yes I can” will be the answer and they immediately make a dash for their colours and paper, happy to show you what talented artists they are. Picasso remarked  ‘All children are born artists.  The problem is to remain as artists as we grow up.’

The Actor Pablo Picasso 1905

The Actor
Pablo Picasso 1905

So do we educate the creativity out of our children?  In an education system that rewards achievement in the academic subjects, maths, science, but overlooks the creative arts how can we truly say that we are educating the whole person.

Ken Robinson, renowned author and educator, in his TEDtalk How schools kill creativity contends that: “Creativity now is as important in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status.”

This week NUI Galway announced the first Creative Arts Scholarship Scheme which offers 40 CAO ‘Performance Points’ to students who can clearly demonstrate exceptional  talent in the creative arts.

The Creative Arts Scheme will only be available in areas where the University has an acknowledged international standing, for example, Creative Writing, Digital Arts and Media, Drama, but it is a move in the right direction.

Over the next number of weeks we will explore the idea of creativity in education. We will be speaking with educators in the creative arts, to schools who have introduced a creative element to their curriculum and also to those individuals who have chosen the arts as their career path. We look forward to sharing these different voices with you.

The value of the arts goes way beyond simple economics.  According to UNESCO, “The encouragement of creativity from an early age  is one of the best guarantees of growth in a healthy environment of self-esteem and mutual respect-critical ingredients for building a culture of peace.”

Because, Education Matters.


The Education Matters blog will be managed by two students from the NUIG MA in Journalism program as part of the Masters work placement program.

Caroline Duggan, mum of four and small business owner is passionate about education and enterprise, and is looking forward to a long and fruitful career in this field. She can be found blogging over here at Cast a wide eye and is also on Twitter .

Mona Wise, mum of four, has a fondness for writing about all things food and family related. She has just finished a five year stint as a mature student and has lots of stories to tell. She can be found blogging at Wise Words and is also on Twitter.

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