Study reveals strong correlation between employability and creativity

Creative expression is a must for all students regardless of their stream of study, according to a study that surveyed educators across Asia Pacific. 

The ‘Education, Creativity and Employability’ study conducted by Adobe revealed interesting points on the ubiquity of creativity in the classroom. An overwhelming 97 percent of respondents feel that creative tools help students to better grasp theoretical concepts and enhance their overall understanding in the classroom. More than half (57%) of Greater China respondents strongly agree that use of creative tools can further conceptual understanding which is three percent higher than the APAC average.

This year’s study also revealed the growing awareness among educators that basic digital media skills are an essential requirement for the 21st century workforce with 53 percent of Greater China & 58 percent APAC respondents strongly agreeing to this statement. Further, 50 percent of Greater China agreed that students proficient in digital media skills have a better chance of being recruited, giving them a competitive edge over their less skilled counterparts higher than the APAC average of 47 percent

However, the study also highlighted the gaps in the current education system as 37 percent noted that it does not place enough emphasis on creative expression. This clearly implies that students are not gaining the necessary skills required for the modern workplace. Greater China is well aligned with the rest of APAC on this point. 

 “Today we understand that the convergence of academic and creative competencies is helping create new opportunities for a whole new digital workforce,�? comments Peter McAlpine, Senior Director, Education, Adobe Asia Pacific.

“However, as the study highlights, our challenge now is to bridge the gap that currently exists in our education system and to bring the two closer. It’s time for us as educators to come together and  define how to enable this shift, ensuring that students are not only equipped to be consumers of digital content but also to be creators of that content.�? 

Gap in integrating creativity

When compared for their responses across a variety of parameters, more educators in Australia and South Korea indicated that there is a gap in the current education system when it comes to integrating creativity into academics. However, while respondents in Australia seem convinced about the role of creative tools and the importance of digital media skills, South Korean respondents were not as strongly convinced about these aspects. Educators in countries of Southeast Asia are not as negative about the ability of current education systems to integrate creativity into classroom instruction.

Indian educators strongly support the need for both creative expression in the classroom as well as the use of creative tools to clarify concepts. 

Educators from Greater China and South Korea are not as strongly supportive as the rest of APAC on the need for basic digital media skills in the workforce, pointing to some cultural differences when it comes to job market expectations. 

“Being a creative person changes everything: it enables us to tackle more complex problems, and it allows us to boldly approach problems outside of the scope of our experience. This is just as well because our global workforce is increasingly moving from muscle jobs to smart jobs. Smart jobs, that require creativity at their core. My hope is that schools will continue to place a higher priority on nurturing creativity so that their students may realize their full potential.�?

The study on ‘Education, Creativity and Employability’ is based on an extensive survey of educators across Asia Pacific covering 13 countries (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam).