“Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today.” – John Lennon

John Lennon was apparently high on LSD when he wrote Imagine. LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide) is a psychedelic drug known for enhancing creativity. And we all know how creative John Lennon was.

Everyone is born with God given creativity and children are the best proof of that. Then why resort to LSD once older? Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”  And this obviously leads us to think that we are educating our children out of creativity. Why is this?

Education systems around the world seem to have a certain hierarchy – Math and Sciences, English and French. Why not teach the children music every day the same way they are taught mathematics? The basic tenets on which we are educating our children have to be reviewed carefully. Children joining school this year will be retiring in the next 60 years! We do not even know what the world will be like in 5 years, let alone 60 and we are meant to be educating our children for it.

Buckminster Fuller, famous American inventor said, “All children are born geniuses and we spend the first six years of their lives degeniusing them.”  It has been proven that the more formal education the child receives, the less of a genius he seems to become. In our search for better education, we seem to be making our geniuses become more and more average, encouraging mediocrity and suppressing creativity.

Schools have set syllabuses and whenever a child wants to go beyond that syllabus, he does not get the encouragement from his teachers. Instead, he is told that he should not need to know what is not going to come out in the exams. Our task is to celebrate their creativity and to educate their whole being rather than just one side of their brain. We need to help them make something out of the future that they will see, not us.

At ELI, our not for profit organization, we do not believe in static memorization and repetition exercises. We engage the children actively with the material and make them take ownership of and feel responsible for their work. At ELI, we acknowledge multiple types of intelligences and we are for changing the obsolete education system which was put in place to learn repetitive tasks during industrialization.

It’s time the education system understands that the education of the future is about recognizing the myriad of human intelligence so that our children do not resort to LSD.

Cedric Clain, Vice President of ELI Africa and a friend, has contributed to this blog.