Sunday, December 19, 2010

The road to creativity

ST Forum


Dec 20, 2010

The road to creativity

MR TAN Jiaqi's letter ('No template for creativity'; last Saturday) makes the excellent observation that the considerable absence of creativity among Singaporeans stems not merely from the pressures within classrooms but also from our socio-economic circumstances.

Far from being an exclusive Singaporean problem, educators around the world are beginning to recognise that a system that emphasises rote learning and the regurgitation of information in tests stifles young minds and limits the application of creative methodologies.

The situation is far more pronounced in Singapore - with our limited manpower - where parents' and students' expectations are premised on the need to be economically productive, fuelled by materialism and pragmatism.

Conformity is encouraged from the moment a child enters primary school. Not only are children exposed to standardised assessments and pressures, but they are also forced to go through a framework which places disproportionate emphasis on rigid teaching-learning processes.

Our society treats differences with disdain and expects everyone to turn out exactly the same. The message we should stress is this: Not every child is meant to be an academic, and so should not be trained or educated as one.

The problem is compounded when education is seen merely as a means to an end - the end being landing a good job and enjoying the comforts brought by material gains.

Co-curricular activities and leadership avenues are there to help students further their interests, but many have become obsessed with beefing up their portfolios to 'look good' in scholarship and college applications. Even something like community service has been abused for personal, pragmatic purposes.

Creativity can be nurtured only by giving a child the space and freedom to pursue his strengths, and interest himself in endeavours or areas that he is passionate about and talented in. An educational institution's role should be to equip the student with the right skills to achieve his dreams and aspirations.

Kwan Jin Yao



Mr Chang C.L.


Sent from CCL's iPhone4

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