[22 September 2008 - By Steven Dahlberg - Reporting from the Global Creative Leadership Summit] Opening the session this morning on "Education, Creativity and the Mind," The Netherlands Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende stated it simply: "Creativity and education are so important."
He shared a story from Holland about a business-based, project-based curriculum where 13 year olds translate an idea into the reality of an entrepreneurial business -- managing all aspects of the process. He said the goal of this program is not to make every student a business person, but to recognize different ways of learning and of being creative.
He insisted that society should recognize the importance of children's natural openness and curiosity, and encourage them to follow their passions for things that matter. He said education should focus on developing children's talents.
"Every child carries a seed of creativity inside," the prime minister said. "It's up to us adults to help that seed flower."
Prime Minister Balkenende also described the Design Academy Eindhoven, which Time magazine has described as the "school of cool." This school, built in an old factory, is integrating the role of human and social needs with sustainable goals in design challenges. For instance, he asked how these students might design a transportation system that makes people want to use it instead of driving.
"Everyone has the right to an education that makes the seed of creativity grow and flourish," he said.