EDITOR’S NOTE: This section of this Blog was titled "BUILDING A CREATIVE NATION" before now. However to reflect the new project this Blog is embarking on, we are renaming the Blog page "CREATIVITY FOR NATIONAL TRANSFORMATION IN NIGERIA."
In this first post, the Publisher explains details and ramifications of this project. The only point to be elucidated here is that the Blog promoters are going to utilize their experience in the learning sciences to advance the project outcomes and multiply its impact.
Learning sciences is an interdisciplinary field that studies teaching and learning. Learning sciences researchers are working to design more effective learning environments – including school classrooms, and also informal settings such as science centres or after-school clubs, on-line distance learning, and computer-based tutoring software. NAIJGRAPHITTI Blog is thus positioned as an informal learning environment for CREATIVITY and INNOVATION related topics for after-school activities, on-line distance learning, and computer-based tutoring.
By Kenneth Nwachinemelu David-Okafor
I am fully convicted that mass competencies in creativity, creative leadership and problem solving proficiency among all strata of society should form the next phase of development for Nigeria’s learning curve on the pathway to mature, sustainable nationhood. Without embracing accessible, qualitative education infused with teaching creativity (and the full breadth of its related concepts) while inculcating problem solving skills then Nigeria hardly will thrive.
After poring through 70 years of creativity related conceptualizations, theorizing and research my discoveries challenged me on a personal level, for a variety of reasons.
One of my most important conclusions:
Nigeria has not prioritized creativity development as an educational objective while the Nigeria’s education system and curriculum are not tooled for inculcating creativity, creative thinking and problem solving competencies in learners for the 21st century.
The above findings are part of a wide ranging investigation I am involved with. Based on action research, multidisciplinary research outcomes (using retrospective studies, comparative analysis and direct observation) and exhaustive review of creativity and innovation literature, the work examines the effects of not teaching creativity (along with its related concepts), not facilitating innovation and the ramifications in wide ranging areas pertaining to Nigeria’s creative potential including socioeconomics, innovation systems, technical and vocational education, national inventiveness, cultural and creative industries, and productivity.
One of the most succinct description of Nigeria’s education system as far as creativity development is concerned is a Nigerian scholar, Dr Stephen Bolaji formerly of Department of Educational Foundations, Michael Otedola College of Primary Education, Epe, Lagos, Nigeria (now at Charles Darwin University, Northern Territory, Australia) in his 2007 Conference paper at the Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia (PESA) conference presentation on Friday, December 7th 2007, in neighbouring New Zealand.
|Source: Evolving Creativity in Nigeria Education: A Philosophy Paradigm (Bolaji, 2007)|
In the abstract his paper, Evolving Creativity in Nigeria Education: A Philosophy Paradigm, Bolaji, wrote, "'The acquisition of appropriate creative skills, abilities and competence both mental and physical as equipment for the individual to live in and contribute to the development of the society' is one of the cardinal objectives of national policy on education by the Federal Government of Nigeria. It suffices to say, that the Nigeria educational system is presently at a cross-road, in a juxtaposed state, when compared with what is obtained (sic) in a developed nation. That the system is in a state of doldrums is not an understatement. This is a system that places premium on certification and theoretical epistemology [rather] than innate abilities."
Bolaji (2007) highlighted that scant scholastic and academic attention that Nigeria’s national policy on education avails to identifying, analyzing and promoting teaching strategies that actively nurture creativity in learners.
In the same paper, Bolaji (2007) concluded, "Creativity is not only about the development of innate ability, but also about development of skills borne out of constant practice or training. Therefore, teaching and learning processes that encourage memorization should be demystified or jettisoned. Skill acquisition through technical/vocational training should be giving a priority.
"It is a known fact that creativity leads to productivity and development in all tiers of national endeavour, so formal school systems should also be given due consideration, because expertise are needed for ideal governance and administration of a nation’s resources."
Thus I have chosen to become a "Creativity for National Transformation" advocate and I am now motivated to help Nigeria to achieve:
o promoting the fostering of creativity for accelerated national/economic development and social change
o facilitating the inculcation of mass competencies in creativity, creative leadership and problem solving proficiency amongst all strata of society through non-formal and informal learning platforms
o teaching creative problem solving and inventive thinking skills to every Nigerian
o qualitative and high-value education
o empowering leadership for improved decision making and critical judgement
Recently I had the opportunity of writing on How Nigeria Can Increase Her Current GDP 38 Times (CLICK HERE).
The essence of that blog post was to draw attention to early child development and education as well as the promotion of the importance of mathematics, science and reading. In that post, I wrote on the findings of the report, titled 'Universal Basic Skills: What countries stand to gain', produced by two economists Eric Hanushek and Ludger Woessmann commissioned by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which includes the biggest ever global school rankings, which rank 76 countries according to how well their students perform. The analysis is based on test scores in maths and science, and is an expansion on the OECD's PISA test scores. The report was published on May 13, 2015.
The key writers of the report of the OECD-funded global school rankings, Eric Hanushek from Stanford University and Ludger Woessmann from Munich University, say that education is a very important factor in the long term wealth of a country.
My main interest in the findings of this report is phrase education is a very important factor in the long term wealth of a country.
One of the most important statements in 'Universal Basic Skills: What countries stand to gain' is that "Poor education policies and practices leave many countries in what amounts to a permanent state of economic recession."
You may not have heard about the 3rd International Literary Colloquium organized to mark Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu’s 58th birthday, held at the Idris Legbo Kutigi International Conference Centre, Minna, Niger State when the then Governor who called himself the "Chief Servant" held sway.
In his presentation titled Nigeria Needs Intellectual Creativity to Enhance National Transformation and Economic Growth, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu asserted that Nigeria needs intellectual creativity to enhance National transformation and economic growth. He observed that the country had the highest number of educated people in Africa but had not impacted on the National transformation and economic growth, hence the need for creativity out of the youths who were the future leaders. He was of the view that formal education alone had no relevance in the reconstruction of the nation without the reading culture. The Governor lamented that Nigeria was lagging behind in the reading culture adding that no nation in the 21st century could get its socio-political, economic and technological advancement right if the educational status of her citizenry was jeopardized.
My own thinking is completely at variance with the position of the erstwhile "Chief Servant" and former Governor of Niger State.
I will indicate here what essential is precisely the kernel of "Creativity for National Transformation": Nigeria needs not only intellectual creativity but all-round creativity, creative thinking, problem solving and critical judgement in addition to competent, intentional leadership to enhance national transformation and economic growth!
In the long term, "Creativity for National Transformation" is a Launchpad for transitioning with ease into a wholesale "Knowledge Society" or knowledge based society (KBS) which has aided several countries of the world achieve clear social and economic transformation. Knowledge society "creates, disseminates and utilizes knowledge for improving standard of living and quality of life of the citizens in a sustainable manner" and such a transformation comes as a new phase of the move to information society. Transformation into knowledge-based economy (KBE) is inevitable for transition to knowledge society. In such an economy, growth depends on the factor of knowledge generation and utilization more than ever in human history.
Of course, we must mobilize for the concerted effort require for this change to happen.
We are seeking all those willing! Are you?