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Convocation Review: Economist Tim Leunig discusses the importance of creativity in education

Creativity in education is a topic incredibly relevant to Carleton as a liberal arts college. On Friday, the economist Tim Leunig gave a convocation about the importance of cultivating creativity in education.

Tim Leunig is a world-renowned professor at the London School of Economics’s Department of Economic History. Currently he is on sabbatical to serve as a Ministerial Policy Adviser at the Department for Education in the United Kingdom.

During his convocation, Leunig explained various data he’s been able to put together at his current government post. One of the most compelling parts about his presentation was a graph of how much money different academic “majors” in the UK made. Some of the results were surprising. In the UK, business majors made the third most money after graduating despite the general cultural disdain for a business major. Meanwhile, those who majored in a foreign language earned almost exactly the same amount as if they had not gotten the education in the first place. Fine arts majors ended up making less than if they had not attended University at all. Interestingly, this sort of correlational data was only possible due to the UK’s highly centralized education system that collects extensive information about its students and the fact that in the UK an academic major is much more singularly focused on their topic than in the United States.

Although these data were very interesting, the main takeaway from the convocation is how instrumental education is to shaping the history and success of a country. Leunig gave various examples of countries that have had economic success stories and how those could be traced back to widespread and rigorous education. For example, the United States, which, in its infancy had one of the most widespread and rigorous educational systems in any country.

Overall, it was an interesting and enjoyable convocation.

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