There are approximately 1 million people in the UK under 19 year olds, and last year alone approximately 700,000 babies were born. While these youths grow up, we are expected to educate them for the next 65 years of their working careers when even the best of experts cannot tell you what the world will look like in a years time. And as such it raises the crucial question of how we should educate our children to maximise their potential. I have been fascinated by this debate for several years now and as a teenager currently at school I cannot understand the reason behind our current education system. It stigmatises creativity and innovation: two qualities that have fallen dramatically in Britain since 2004 and yet so crucial to any active population – in a world which is so turbulent and constantly experiencing change, the most valuable asset to a person is his ability to adapt to circumstances.
I follow Picasso’s belief that “every child is born an artist, it is remaining an artist which is difficult”. The current education system kills this artistic and creative nature in children and we progressively see youths become afraid of making mistakes and pushed away from subjects such as Music, Drama and Art. In many ways our schools reflect the shape of an 18th century factory in the Industrial Revolution – each subject has it’s own department, Science and Maths are always on the top two floors, we educate children by age group and we force them to specialise in a few subjects for A-levels, with the pressure of knowing that subjects like Art will not get you into the top universities. Even now, the first government cut to education hit art and drama departments. Why? Why do we not have dance lessons in schools or spend more time getting teens involved in theatre productions? Our current mentality has created a generation of academics who can no doubt add numbers together, but they lack independent thought, creative ideas and revolutionary actions.
The fear of another generation devoid of creativity has sparked a few firms to take an action, of which Enlighteen is one. Enlighteen’s aim is not to force creativity amongst teenagers but to give them a safe environment, away from one-minded professors, for them to explore their creativity and to not be afraid of trying them. We want to see all teenagers write songs, be entrepreneurs, be in dance groups or become artists and feel safe in the fact that it is ok to fail. There is no way of succeeding without failing first. Enlighteen hopes to raise awareness of a serious issue to create a website devoted to teenage creativity where people can discuss ideas, be inspired by successful teen entrepreneurs and have the opportunity to get work experience with some of the biggest firms in the world.
We believe in this cause, and I encourage you all to play your role in saving our youths future.
Nima Amin (Guest Columnist)