Published: 19th January 2018
Creativity can make an engineer smarter, a mathematician sharper and the millennial out-of-the-box: Smriti Irani
Other panelists, Director Madhur Bhandarkar, Designer and Curator Rajeev Sethi and DMK MP M Kanimozhi unanimously agreed that creativity requires encouragement and can't be curbed at school level
In an age of Engineering and Medicine, a little creativity can be the difference between an average engineer and an exceptional one, said Smriti Irani. A mathematician or scientist who mixes up things by also doing a course in music or literature tends to be naturally better equipped in creativity, said the Union I&B and Textile Minister Smriti Irani. The way to get there is through Informal education at home, she said during a panel discussion on whether our Education System encourages Creativity at the ThinkEdu Conclave.
Stressing on how informal education is of utmost importance, especially in a country like India where the family is the biggest influence and educator in this regard, she drew attention to how education away from the classroom is a unique trait that India possesses. "There are studies that have shown that cognitive skills improve when there is a creative input at the formative stage of education. One of the biggest compliments to the Indian school system was education not through textbooks but through informal systems that children were getting from family members," she added.
If you go home and try to learn multiplication tables, your mother may try to teach it to you in a singsong fashion. Now, one might say that it's just a mother's way of teaching numbers, but it's also a very creative method of educating a child
Smriti Irani, Union I&B and Textile Minister
Creative methods of teaching are first seen at home, in an informal setting far away from classrooms and blackboards. The family influences creativity in comfortable settings by fusing innovative methods with lessons, she said.
She re-emphasised how family is the crucial piece of the education jigsaw and how encouraging creativity at home can help individuals a long way down the line. "We also need creative processes at a community level. This has nothing to do with the school system but has everything to do with the family. My diction today, for which I often get rapped by Prabhu Chawla, was developed because my grandfather would make me stand and recite either an essay or a poem or read the newspaper. The issue is how many of us today take that time to spend time with our child today? That is the moot question. The biggest influence is our family. If you want to learn dialogue and deliberation, you must spend time with your elders and your families," she continued.
The other panelists, including Director Madhur Bhandarkar, Designer and Curator Rajeev Sethi and DMK MP M Kanimozhi unanimously agreed that creativity requires encouragement and must not be curbed at the school level.
Blossom: Kanimozhi said that schools and educational institutions need to adopt a more student-centric approach and allow kids to explore and taste the fruits of informal education
"The education system must allow you the freedom to blossom into a creative person. There must be room for dialogue but more importantly educational institutes have to allow the student creative freedom and thought. That is what is most important — the student's growth," she said.
Right to the reel: Director Madhur Bhandarkare expressed displeasure over the common habit to pick and choose creativity to suit sentiments and ideologies
Director Madhur Bhandarkar, who is a school dropout, said that clamping down on an individual's creativity went against the freedom of growth and strongly believed in the vital role creative freedom plays in shaping thoughts and opinions.
Curator and Designer Rajeev Sethi touched upon the need to touch upon topics often closed off, including the use of native or folk arts and methods to impart knowledge and creativity.