Does our education system kill creativity?


Is our education system designed to produce more human cogs in the corporate production line?

Are we just interested in churning out more graduates – never mind if they cannot analyse and think creatively and critically across disciplines? Does our education system kill off natural creativity and talent among the young, especially in the arts, drama, dance and literature?

Check out this Youtube clip featuring Ken Robinson. Wikipedia describes him as follows:

In 1998, he was invited by the UK Government to establish and lead a national commission on creativity, education and the economy. The Commission brought together leading business people, scientists, artists and educators. His report, All Our Futures: Creativity, Culture and Education (The Robinson Report) was published to huge acclaim…. He was a central figure in developing a strategy for creative and economic development as part of the Peace Process in Northern Ireland, working with the ministers for training, education enterprise and culture. The resulting blueprint for change, Unlocking Creativity, was adopted by politicians of all parties and by business, education and cultural leaders across the Province.

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Creativity? You must be kidding. They want obedient workers who do the job at low wages, and don’t make any demands. That is all. They don’t want workers who wonder why they are working more and making less money. They don’t want workers who want to spend more time with their families. No no no… They want workers busey to make just anaugh money to pay the groceries. It was not always like that. We used to have time to relax and do some activities at a relaxed pase,but now for many people, it’t alway how can I make more… Read more »

Creativity in Education

In the business world, creativity = innovation. Business Week last month had a article discussing how companies with formal innovation processes or reward programs had fewer innovations or patents than companies that did not. Of course, the article is probably biased towards larger companies that have thousands of complacent, risk-averse employees and the resources to build a corporate innovation program. Smaller companies, trying to differentiate, may have a better hand at innovation.

I do see similar parallels between schools and businesses as far as creativity/innovation is concerned.



Serve you right, Angry Parents.

Who ask you to enroll your child into Sekolah Kebangsaan…?

Serve you right !

…the “A/P” thing, is (it) part of their attempt to brain wash your daughter in believing that she is no longer a Chinese(?)

…(is it) a way to distancing your daughter from her Chinese root(?)

Serve you right ! Tai sei !

Angry Parents

Creativity you ask? Yes, we have… Lots & lots of distructive creativity from school. Back to school today for my (Grace Ho Hwee Ling)) daughter’s Darjah 5 in the same Sekolah Kebangsaan school she had studied since the past 4 years, I had a rude shock when her teacher’s recorded her name as Grace A/P Hweeling!!!!!!! My family name Ho is gone and missing and the teacher says she simplified it with A/P. A/P mean anak perempuan. While Ho has 2 characters, A/P are 3 characters so her reasoning she simplified it is not valid. Yes, her name tag for… Read more »


New arises from the old, and it doesn’t mean that the old has to die before the new can arise.

While there is such thing as destructive innovation, their adoption is still not that widespread.

The old ideas and the new can co-exist side by side, and often they do.


The creative endeavour is always dynamic and it is intricately linked with the destructive impulses. You cannot have creativity without destruction. The new cannot be borned when the old do not die. The tendencies of the mind to fixate, to accept without examination, to classify(pigeon-hole), to leap to conclusion without the possibility of evaluation, mental complacency etc. are tendencies that will kill off the creative spirit. All formal education came from, encourages and developed fixed pattern of behaviour. It is such mental laziness and inertia that made us opened to manipulation by others. The chinese word for happiness – kai… Read more »


Keep your peasants stupid lest they revolt against you.

Obedient numbskulls is what UMNO/BN wants. We command, you obey.


Creativity and resourcefulness are cousins. They are not exactly the same, but they do share similarities. People often have this misconception that one has to have education before one can be resourceful / creative. That can’t be more wrong. The only that education offers a creative / resourceful person is to widen the worldview of that person, hence a certain amount of amplification to the effect of creativity / resourcefulness of that person. Most people also have the notion that society / education can kill creativity. No. It can’t. Nothing can kill creativity, nothing, except that individual him/herself. “If there… Read more »


“creativity is linked to problem-solving?” I wonder. Perhaps a purist might link creativity with error or noise – small defects in reproducing observed or acquired behaviours. I think William Calvin might have said something similar in ‘How Brains Think’, comparing the generation of ideas with evolution, so that many slightly mutated versions of a young idea might ‘compete’ for limited brain resources and finally the ‘fittest’ one wins our attention (at which point we can ‘see’ the idea). I might not have remembered that quite right. The book is very readable and contains a lot of interesting ideas. A professor… Read more »


I suppose creativity is linked to problem-solving? A creative person can think of more ways to tackle a problem than someone who isn’t? Does a creative person have more ideas? Is creativity and resourcefulness the same?


“latest exports of China, women” They’re not exports – they’re refugees from Chinese men! Thanks, guys ;-p Creativity can be difficult to cultivate. I think a lot of students have their creativity handicapped at home before they even get to school. Personally, I think the old saying about “necessity is the mother of invention” is crucial. In Malaysia – on one levels – there’s no need: you can lie in the shade and wait for fruit to drop into your mouth. On the other hand, we can look around and see that there are many, many, many aspects where Malaysia… Read more »


Who says “Politics destroy creativity”?

Where else in the world fighter jet engines can go missing?

Where else in the world where something like PKFZ can ever happen?

Where else but in Malaysia?

That’s creativity, my man.

Creativity being used in the wrong way.


Yes they do, that is why Thumbdrive was designed by Malaysian!


And he had to go to Taiwan to do it


What education system? we have accredited diploma mills allegedly. Nobody fails (or almost nobody) and they know about it so why bother,

Hey teacher, leave those kids alone, all in all its just another paper (degree) on the wall.

And we wonder why we are not progressing up the value chain, why are we still so low in the value chain and hence are not competitive.

Anil, this is that type of question where the answers are written on the wall in bold, no need to discuss.


In Malaysia, politics destroy creativity. It is made worst by politics-controlled educational systems.

Gerakan K

The Chinese (in China I mean) are imitation expert. They can produce faked eggs, faked clothes, faked handbags, faked paint, and so on. Luckily we don’t have all these creativity.


The fact is where there is demand, there is supply. It is the same everywhere. Today, wherever you go, do not be surprised that the latest exports of China, women, can also be found anywhere on planet earth!

Do not be shocked to find ladies from China walking the streets of Dubai, along with those from Africa, CIS countries, Russia, etc. Dubai, truly a united nation, truly international!

Happy New Year bro, Cheers!


A depressive environment destroy creativity. Did China come up with any great scientific inventions or discovery after inventing paper, gun powder, and others, when science is neglected but instead over-emphasizing the scholar education including the Confucius teaching of loyalty?

It led to years of misery for the Chinese people with their lives and minds controlled by both the rulers and their own closed visions.


Malaysia just need more factory workers. We need more robots. Why teach the students to be creative? We just need them to be obedient. πŸ™‚


Anil, Creativity can not be learned. And it can not be killed either. No matter how suppressive a system may be, it can only temporarily suppress some forms of creativity but can never kill it outright. Like the Chinese in ancient China. The ancient Chinese society was a very depressive society. It discourages people to venture into science, or thinking of new form of ideology, or challenge the deeply entrenched Confucius philosophy. Did the Chinese end up losing all their creativity? Far from losing their creativity, the Chinese channeled their creativity into business dealings and perfecting the running of their… Read more »


I know I’m not supposed to say this, but you are wrong. I have been teaching creative thinking for 20 years and it CAN be learned, while trends in US and UK education show it CAN be killed.
Humans are creative by nature, but especially children need a fostering environment to bring it out.
I’d also like to remind you that creativity is MUCH, MUCH more than “arts training”: dance, music, painting, etc.
The world needs more and more creative people, it is necessary we go out and train our children for the creative future.