Supporting creativity today for success tomorrow
As technology rapidly transforms our world, our lives undergo deep changes. Old jobs get phased out while the whole new industries emerge. Children who start school today will have jobs that will demand high level of creative thinking. ‘By 2020, creativity will be top skill workers will need’ (‘The Future of Jobs’, WEF, 2016). More than 72% of CEOs say that hiring creative employees is a priority.
Creativity is the key education strategy for upskilling young people. Creative and innovative young people will drive future growth and prosperity. They will find solutions to our problems, whether food, health, fuel, or the environment, and move us to action. Better problem solvers who enjoy putting themselves against challenges, they are more effective and productive. Observant, imaginative, and confident, they are more flexible and independent. Good communication, team collaboration, and positive risk-taking are also part of their creative skill. As MASK supporter and leading African industrialist Dr Manu Chandaria CBE noted, "Survival in the 21st century will be difficult and without creativity is not possible".
“How effectively education fosters creativity is now at the center of the relationship between education and future economic prosperity” ('New Vision for Education', WEF, 2016). However, education for creativity has been limited or elusive in many regions and countries in Africa and elsewhere. This presents a serious threat to the creativity of the future workforce and therefore to socio-economic transformation. Up to 75% of Africa-based CEOs say that the ‘creative talent’ shortage threatens their companies' growth (British Council for Africa, 2012). The countries of Sub-Saharan Africa "have at most ten years before technology permanently closes the door on the strategies that develop the skills demanded by the 21st century" ('Human Capital Report', WEF, 2016).
If creativity is neglected in children, it deteriorates as they grow. Art practice in school - focused on experimentation and invention - is the best way to engender creativity in the young. Although making art might seem a luxury to some when so many African people face pressing needs, art develops creativity and therefore art is not a ‘luxury’ but an economic necessity.
In the words of the MASK beneficiaries
Patrick Mulinge, 14. Creativity helps me to live a wonderful life, especially when I see good things I have made. I imagine things and make them a reality.
Mesaidi Juma, 13. Creativity helps children to develop their talents and know where they can go after they finish school. Creativity helps me to go towards my ambition. I know my talents are my survival.
Regina Mwihaki, 17 and Anne Njeri, 16. We designed an eco-friendly seedling bag out of sisal and banana stalk fibre as we were concerned about the plastic menace in Kenya. This is creativity. Art is an expression. While subjective, it unites people. Without Creativity and Art, the world would come to a standstill and we humans would be unwell. Creativity and Art are the engines of the Mother Earth.
Saumu Hamadi, 13. Children use their minds to create many things. Creativity makes our minds more creative. It makes our minds to think big.
John Mutahi, 20. Creativity is where I use my imagination. Art is where I express my creativity. Art and creativity make us innovative and lead us to the inventions that make the world a better place.
Rukia Hassan, 13. Creativity and innovation help people to earn a living. Children who are more creative and innovative will be more able to make and sell things.
Simon Wairiuko Kariuki, 24. Creativity is what sparks change and improves quality of life. It is the little things we do to live every day. From the simple technology of boiling water to the high-end medical practice of cancer treatment. Creativity is the very fabric of humanity. It brings prosperity to a nation. Lack of creativity is a sign of a nation’s downfall.
Jesie Otumba Otieno, 21. Art is something that can move people just by looking at it. It makes us feel. Creativity is the act of changing and re-creating things in a unique way.
Amina Seif, 14. Creativity helps me to achieve goals and to come up with things of my own. It also helps me to inspire other children who think they cannot be creative.
Samuel Edwin Oluoch Otieno, 21. Creativity is the ability to open up to the new and not to rely on the old ‘truths’. Art helps us to look and understand what we see, and act on what we have learned.
June Nanini Wambua, 23. Creativity is a gift we are all born with. It is the ability to add value. For example, I painted using my palette knife and created textured paintings, adding a 3D aspect to my works. Creativity makes our life better and exciting. As we express ourselves, we bring change and through that change we evolve socially, technologically and spiritually. Art is the outcome of creativity. It is a physical expression of one’s imagination, emotions and ideas.
Miriam Samba Savala, 13. Creativity helps me doing things the way I wish.
Claire Njeri Kuria, 17. Creativity enables me to think outside the box. The result - is innovative approaches to tasks. Art is a visual expression of my creativity. I express my thoughts in pictures that words cannot describe. In drawings there is a lot you can say that carries meaning.
Mariam Ronald, 12. The person who creates is a creator.