It is said that the roots of a creative society are in basic education. Although everyone has creative thinking skills and ideas, children have more because they are open-minded, inventive and playful, which are important features of creativity. But this potential needs to be properly nurtured for children to grow into adults capable of applying innovation and creativity in solving problems.
In today’s unpredictably changing and innovation-driven society, it is crucial for every forward-thinking society to look for the best approaches to nurturing creative thinking, innovation and leadership potentials of her children. The educational system, school curricula and pedagogy play a very crucial role in this. The system needs to enables students to apply their imagination to generating ideas, questions and hypotheses, experimenting with alternatives and evaluating their own peers’ ideas, final products and processes.
Ghana’s educational system is characterized by the rote style of learning where teachers provide children with information that they are supposed to memorize and reproduce verbatim in exams. Academic performance is assessed through the ability to ‘chew’ and ‘pour’ what has been thought by teachers or written in textbooks. There is limited opportunity for students and pupils to engage in activities that develops their critical thinking, innovation and problem-solving skills. This system has produced many generations of educated Ghanaians who are incapable of solving problems, taking initiatives or thinking outside the box.
Whereas the country is bedeviled with countless socio-economic challenges that people must be trained to solve, we seem to be throwing away money in educating people who come out of the system with the mentality that the society owes them a living because they have education. But could they be blamed? The fact is that people create change, but they need to be equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that make innovation, leadership and development possible.
It is for these and many other reasons that the Centre for Social Innovations; Ghana’s premier center for Social Innovations training has developed the Young Innovators’ Bootcamps Program to help nurture a new generation of innovative thinkers and problem-solvers for the country. With our Young Innovators’ Bootcamp program, children at the Basic School level (aged 9-15 years) are given the opportunity to learn how to analyze social issues, brainstorm solution ideas and put these ideas into action through prototyping. With the help of our world-class training curriculum, the children develop important skills in leadership, teamwork, social awareness and the connection between theoretical knowledge and practice.
Through our Young Innovators’ Bootcamp program, we hope to transform the Basic School learning experience from current state of over-emphasis on knowledge acquisition to one that fosters innovation and creativity in children. After all as Albert Einstein puts it: ‘Education is not the learning of facts but training of the mind to think’.
Executive Director & Founder
Center for Social Innovations, Ghana