The missing creative DNA in our students
December 16, 2011 § 11 Comments
Have you ever woken up in the morning to realize that the next big idea that may entirely change the world can be yours? Have you wondered that you could’ve thought what another individual at some other part in the world came up with? More importantly, do you even believe that you have the potential to create something, an idea, a notion, that can be unique and entirely new and innovative?
I ask so because the journey of creativity begins from the very belief that one can embark upon it. Too often do we shy away from taking this path simply because we think we can’d do this. And consequently, we spend our lives following in what others coin and discover and invent. We dwell in the delusion that certain traits merit creativity and the lack of them renders us incapable of initiating the process.
Well, creativity is spontaneous. It is natural and it needs absolutely no qualifications. Yes, nurturing a creative thought and taking it to the point of realization may require certain traits such as diligence and persistence but the idea, in itself, merely requires mental effort.
Sadly, the culture to creatively think and design products, ideas etc is entirely missing in Pakistani universities, save a few private ones. Having studied at an engineering university, I can tell from my experience that 90% of the final year projects are simply attempts to re-create products or projects which are already available – and this, without tweaking that product significantly. If only the students were taught to think out of the box and come up with innovative ideas, we’d already be having a number of extra-ordinary creations.
At one hand, it won’t only promote a sense of entrepreneurship among the students, it may also help our industry come up with a few handy inventions. The necessary fund required for rather large-scale endeavours may be channelled by the industrial giants, just like it’s done in US. But then, we’ve got a long way to reach that point.
Especially in a world fast turning increasingly digital, the importance of IT-related innovations can never be overstated. And while the rest of world is coming up with more unique, extra-ordinary IT innovations every other day, the sole focus of IT/CS students in Pakistan is to hitch up a good job. Yes, the financial circumstances somehow makes that inevitable but then, prospective entrepreneurial ventures based purely on their creativity and hard work may be a better answer for their economics.
One can say that the responsibility for such a paradigm shift in higher education curriculum lies with the government and HEC. But I think that’s like trashing the very notion and pretending we can’t help doing so. In recent days, P@SH@ has been particularly active in promoting entrepreneurship among the youth and that has worked! Some new ventures have surfaced and yet others are most probably in the pipeline, especially after P@SH@ came up with the idea of an ICT fund. But this needs to go beyond one organization. How hard is it to instil in our students that they can think; that they can make new things, think new ideas and that this is not a blasphemy. I tend to think a mere effort on the part of some, who are cognizant of this need, can change things hugely.