Articles School Life

Do schools kill creativity?

It goes without saying that the education we receive will determine our future, although many students say that the Hungarian school system is out-of-date and it does not value our creativity and innovations enough. There had been multiple student demonstrations recently in connection with these issues. It is a hotly debated topic that often divides opinion because all schools and teachers are different, but in this article I am going to collect the most common problems based on my own experience.


Firstly, let me take a look at the hierarchy of school subjects. The majority of students believe that math is the most important, then humanities and at the end of the list, there is art. I think that art is very important and we should place it at the same status as literacy. Also, art and science are connected by creativity. Science could not develop, nothing new could be invented if people weren’t curious and creative. I’m not saying that our school system is completely wrong, but it does not benefit all students. School is predicated on the idea of academic ability. In other words, its purpose is to teach us how to “live in our head” instead of applying practical skills in our everyday lives. Students are called stupid and lazy because they are judged according to a certain mentality. As a quote often attributed to Einstein says:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

Or we could look at this situation from another perspective. The following is a relevant real-life example. National Survey of Children’s Health concluded that the number of children diagnosed with ADHD  has increased in the past few years. Psychiatrists assume that this growth might be connected to the amount of standardized testing in schools. I am not trying to prove that it isn’t an existing mental illness, but in many cases, the kids aren’t ill at all, they just have a different capacity and method of learning. They get penalized for getting distracted during class, so they have to take medication in order to shut their senses. This “one size fits all” education is being forced on children. School is becoming a factory-line, where students get separated by age groups even though it’s proven that all kids mature and study at a different rate.

It is obvious that the school system does not meet the needs of today’s world, but let’s ask the question: How do we even educate our children to take place  in the economy of the 21st century? We don’t even know what the economy will look like at the end of next week. How do we educate them so that they will have a sense of cultural identity while taking part in the process of globalization?

We need to change the education system because children don’t see the point of going to school. A degree does not guarantee a job anymore. The school system should show relevance to future careers, that’s why students should learn subjects like economy, business, design, marketing etc. It should also teach children how to correct their mistakes instead of raising them to be frightened of making them. They should be prepared to be wrong, otherwise, they won’t end up creating anything original.

In addition, students are often judged separately and are expected to accomplish their aims alone, even though it is psychologically proven that great learning happens in groups of collaboration. This makes it clear that there is a disjunction between the children and their natural learning environment.

All things considered, I think that the current Hungarian education system was designed for another age and different circumstances. Instead of being a source of anxiety, the school’s job should be to help kids make something of their talents and it should nurture their curiosity instead of shutting it off.

-By Kelemen Zsófi

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