Further to my post from May of this year about creativity and education, in which I posted Sir Ken Robinson's very funny and inspiring TED lecture on this subject (click here to see). I post below a recent two part interview of Ken Robinson by Riz Khan on Aljazeera English.
An excellent interview, I hope people of influence on Education in Libya are willing to learn a few points.
The problem with the Arab world generally speaking and specifically in Libya is that we are slow to pick up on modern educational methods.
Children are asked to cram enormous amounts of mostly useless information, which they will probably never benefit from, and are then asked to regurgitate it at the end of the year. This "information" is then quickly forgotten during the summer holidays and the flawed education cycle starts again the next so called "academic" year. This is true for almost all of the Arab countries.
The established Arab way of teaching is through indoctrination. Creativity is neither encouraged or rewarded. Teachers are poorly trained and the ones that do their jobs well are very poorly paid and are not encouraged to develop and maintain their skills. Our kids try to learn in a backward and harsh system in which their creativity at best is stifled or ridiculed.
The result, (leaving oil revenues aside) the entire Arab world has the lowest economical and scientific development contributions in the world, barring Sub-Saharan Africa.
Oil for me doesn't count, it's not hard earned money and it's a finite commodity, the real worth is in well educated, hard working, skilled and creative populations. In fact, oil has probably been more of a curse than a blessing. History will probably prove this.
Education is the key to future prosperity, and we are always behind. When our faulty system does produce people who are creative, intelligent and productive it's mostly due to their inherent talent not through the education they get, and the sad thing is the economical system is not geared to retain these people.
The people who end up being creative and productive tend to barely survive the system rather than being a product of it. And if they do survive it, they either go abroad to thrive or stay and die a slow intellectual and financial death. Look across the board, across all the Arab countries and you will see 22 very similar pictures. And I mean across all the Arab world, whether oil rich or not. In fact, ironically non-oil rich countries tend to do slightly better in comparison despite their very limited resources.
One example to prove that people can bring more prosperity than oil will ever do, is that Spain's GDP is more than that of the entire Arab world's combined GDP! 45 million people produce more than 300 million people, oil revenue included!!
I apologise if I sound harsh, I'm sure there are small exceptions in the system, but most studies and opinions on the Arab world are more harsher and critical. I sincerely wish things were better.
Unless the Arab world realises and tackles these challenges, the future of the whole region will be very bleak indeed.
1- The Arab World: Let the Numbers Speak! UNDP, 2002.
2- BBC News: Arab education 'falling behind', 22 Feb. 2008.