Conformity vs Creativity

American linguist and philosopher Noam Chomsky meticulously portrayed today’s schooling system — especially in developing Asian countries, particularly Pakistan — when he said that the institutional role of the schools “for the most part is just to train people for obedience and conformity”.

His words, grounded in reality, clearly depict our obsolete and fragile education system. In our country, children are taught from the very beginning in a way that they are expected to be obedient and submissive to what is being imparted. Asking questions is considered a negative trait among students.

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As expressed by French philoso-pher Michel Foucault, the central theme of a school is surveillance over children — whether they nod their heads to the given instructions or think on their own.

Students are warned against thinking beyond what is being delivered, and are appreciated for being rote-learners and reproducers on the exam day.

In doing so, curiosity, inquisitiveness, creativity and critical thinking are compromised. These are all indispensable skills for anyone planning to not just survive but to contribute something to the world.

The only way to get out of this mess is through efforts from individuals concerned. Teachers have to work on their own on this model by encouraging students to ask questions, think of ideas and bring something new to the table.



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