We live in the Age of Creativity. Children who entered school for the first time in September 2017 may retire around 2067. That future-of-work eludes us and we accept that the curriculum we enact today is the appropriate carter into that unknown future. Strangely we are not just educating for a world which we cannot imagine but the zeitgeist of industrialization has been displaced by the age of design. Creative learning is something that should be a facet of every part of a child’s overall education, regardless of the subject. Sustained investment in providing students with an excellent cultural education should form a key pillar of Government’s strategy for long-term growth of the creative and cultural industries. Creativity is as important as literacy and numeracy and must be given parity of place. The model of schooling-for-industrialisation which gave priority to a specific hierarchy of subjects across a range of school types will not enable us to rendez-vous with an impatient future. The arts fail to find a place at the top of the curriculum pyramid and within the arts itself, painting and music are given precedence over dance and drama. If creativity is to flourish, cultural education and creative teaching must be given equivalence of esteem, alongside strategies for literacy and numeracy. The model of education for industrialization cannot be the paradigm of education for innovation and entrepreneurship. Recently, it is not unusual for many graduates to face with certainty the possibility of pseudo-jobs, “practices,” ad-hoc, temporary and insecure part-time employment at considerably lower levels of skills than they have acquired, and well below their expectations. Academic inflation requires a MSc. where once a BSc. was sufficient. A shift in the ecology of schooling is needed if the economy is to be diversified. Such a shift would require a Collective Impact Strategy that must include: a common agenda that takes into account the actions and omissions of all players across all sectors, including charitable bodies, foundations, state agencies, UNESCO, the UNDP, members of affected populations, multinationals, the Teaching Service Commission, captains of industry, the Energy Chamber, the Tobago House of Assembly, the Chamber of Industry and Commerce, the Manufacturers’ Association, and the Ministry of Education; a shared list of indicators to measure progress; mutually reinforcing activities, with each stakeholder focusing on what each organisation does best; a robust and structured communication plan to build trust and co-ordinate activities focused on mutual objectives; and finally, an independently funded backbone support team dedicated to guide the vision and tactics, support activities, establish shared measured practices, build public determination, advance policy, and mobilise resources. In Finland, educators are obligated to hold academic Master’s degrees that can take five to seven years to complete. A Virtuous Circle has been created that makes it possible for Finland to recruit its primary-school educators from the top quintile of all 18-year-old school-leavers. In 2010, there were 6,600 new applicants for the 660 available vacancies on the primary-school teacher-education programme at Finnish Universities.
Greg Hurst describes some programmes of study as simply “worthless degrees” from the lowest-performing British universities. The vision of education-driven upward social mobility neutralising the toxins of inequality and rendering them harmless, requires scrutiny if education subsides are to threaten historical inequalities. Differences in earnings between graduates from different backgrounds persist even when education attainment, including university attended and subject studied, are held constant. Getting a good degree from an elite university may not be enough to equalize career opportunities to the professions and prime age earnings for those from different socio-economic backgrounds. Students from Oxford earn three times as much as their contemporaries attending the least-selective British universities five years after they have graduated. Less reputable universities like Bournemouth and Southampton Solent fight back with industry-linkages. Portsmouth, Aston and Newman may not be leading the league tables but have converted bad rankings into brilliant jobs.