High school students on P.E.I. have something new to add to their list of graduation requirements.

Starting with this year's Grade 10 class, Island students will now have to take at least one class that fosters creativity or innovation in order to graduate.

The Department of Education, Early Learning and Culture has put together a list of courses that meet the new requirement.

The list includes a wide range of subjects. There is everything from carpentry to culinary, global issues to robotics, music to welding.

Arts education curriculum specialist Vicki AllenCook says the creativity and innovation credit grew out of the department's review of graduation requirements.

Looked at broader definition

At first they talked about adding a compulsory arts credit she said.

Then the discussion expanded to a broader definition of creativity and innovation.

"We've identified a number of courses and we didn't want them just coming from the arts," said AllenCook. "We went through every curriculum that's already existing and we had a criteria that 50 per cent of it had to be focused on the creative process and product.

'To be persistent. To be risk-takers. Problem solvers. To be able to be good collaborators.' - Vicki AllenCook, arts education curriculum specialist

"The words that we're looking at are words like construct, create, design."

There are currently 37 courses that qualify for the credit in creativity and innovation. French language courses also count.

Allen-Cook said some courses are obviously creative such as creative writing, drama, multimedia, visual arts and music.
Others are associated more with the trades — like carpentry and welding — but they too count for the credit.

First in Canada

AllenCook and her colleague were invited to Ontario to present their work on creativity and innovation. She says what P.E.I. is doing is a first in Canada.

"A whole lot of the provinces are looking at this, and not just the provinces. When we were doing our research globally, creativity and innovation is a very big thing. We are the first province that is looking at this as a grad requirement."

AllenCook says creativity and innovation have been connected to economic growth and prosperity and it will better prepare young people on P.E.I. for the workplace in the 21st century.

"It's not just learning information and content now, but being able to come up with different ideas, to be inquisitive," AllenCook said. 

"To be persistent. To be risk-takers. Problem solvers. To be able to be good collaborators. And being able to communicate all of that. Not just being given the questions but to be able to ask the questions."

AllenCook said they looked at the fact that students were more engaged.

"That's a very important part." 

Students in Grade 10 will have from now until the end of Grade 12 to meet the requirement of a credit in creativity or innovation.

Is a required innovation or creativity credit for high school a good idea?