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‘Education system hinders students’ creativity’

The education system is failing to instil a sense of creativity in students, limiting their ability to flourish when they enter the workforce, Education Minister Evarist Bartolo said yesterday.

“At school, we tend to reward obedience, silence and conformity. We cannot expect students to all of a sudden come out of college or university and flourish.

“How can they be explosively creative after we have been destroying those qualities for 18 years?” Mr Bartolo said.

He went on to lambast formal education, adding that the system tended to emphasise the importance of knowing but very often failed to teach students how to actually go about doing things.

“One of the shortcomings of formal education is that a lot of emphasis is put on knowing and not enough on doing. Creating educational experiences where we bring this mentality is essential,” Mr Bartolo said.

The Minister added that schools were also failing to equip students with “soft skills” that would help them solve problems, take initiative and show leadership when they entered the workforce.

“Technical competence is crucial, but with it you need to have the ability to work together, solve problems, take initiative, be creative, show leadership.

How can they be explosively creative after we have been destroying those qualities for 18 years?

“Those are things that unfortunately we do not cultivate in our education institutions,” Mr Bartolo said.

His comments came less than a week after it was announced that secondary schools students will be offered a selection of vocational and applied subjects, apart from the traditional academic subjects, starting in 2019 as part of a major reform in secondary schools.

The main objective of the reform is to move away from the “one-size-fits-all” approach and to move towards one that is more hands-on.

The minister was addressing students at the fourth edition of Microsoft’s YouthSpark Live event, held at the company’s Innovation Centre.

Workshops on gender equality in IT and how education in the field could enhance employability were part of the event.

Mr Bartolo also encouraged the students present to make the most of the event, as it could serve to equip them with skills that were not always taught at school.

“When you go out in society, you are faced with real problems, and you have to deal with them and solve them. You will also face problems at the workplace, and you have to learn to work through that.

“The best form of education is that which prepares us for real-life situations. This seminar is an example of this, so make the most of it,” Mr Bartolo said.

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