We strengthen creativity and innovation in young people in Africa
to improve their learning, employability and leadership skill
Education for creativity should be the priority of education in order to impact upon the prosperity and growth of individuals and society. ‘How effectively education fosters creativity is now at the center of the relationship between education and economic prosperity’ ('New Vision for Education', WEF, 2016). Creativity has a far-reaching effect on people's intellectual capacity, personality, work ethics, and social behaviour. Creative people spur change and development; people who lack creativity underperform throughout life.
Creativity must be fostered from early life. However, many children and young people around the world are still taught by rote and discouraged to venture ‘outside the box'. Art practices in schools - essential to creativity learning - are virtually non-existent. Creativity is misunderstood and undervalued. There is a misconception that creativity is 'art' and ‘for artists alone’, or that it cannot be taught, or that it does not impact productivity and prosperity in the same way as literacy and numeracy. Although politicians, civil servants, and business leaders have high regard for innovation and entrepreneurship they do not yet associate it with creativity that needs to be developed in schools. This disconnects young people from the skills needed to function in today's and tomorrow’s world. “Survival in 21st century will be difficult and without creativity it is not possible,” warns a MASK supporter and leading African industrialist Dr Manu Chandaria CBE.
There is an urgent need to understand creativity and develop effective ways for engendering it in children and youths. But fostering creativity is not the responsibility of educators alone. ‘By 2020 creativity will be the top skill required by employers’ (‘Future of Jobs’, WEF, 2016). Children who start school today will have jobs that will demand a high level of creative thinking. Working with the NGOs like MASK businesses can invest in creativity of their future workforce .
"MASK developed my habit of innovating. While studying chemistry in college I invented a new drug my college intended to patent. I now work for a global corporation in Nairobi that had chosen me for my "creative attitude". MASK empowered me beyond my dreams." Hellen, 27.
“MASK's work is ground-breaking and important to the young Africans going forward.” MASK trustee Tim Dann