Edward de Bono. Photo: Jon Reid
THE man who coined the term ''lateral thinking'' has called on Education Minister Julia Gillard to include thinking on the national school curriculum.
Author and psychologist Edward de Bono said the Deputy Prime Minister ''has this education revolution [but] when you read this stuff it's the same old stuff all over again.
''Building school halls is not going to solve the problem. There are huge needs in education. Youngsters are ready for it. They love thinking - it's a joy for them''.
Dr De Bono said teaching schoolchildren how to think would reduce the rates of depression in society.
''Teaching thinking gives youngsters the ability to take charge of their lives, the ability to make decisions, make choices and so on,'' he said.
''Schools are very good at teaching history. In England, they all know about the Battle of Hastings and the War of the Roses but they haven't the faintest idea about how the corner shop works or how to get a mortgage.
''The focus should be on the world today, what you need to know now rather than what happened three- or four-hundred years ago. Education is way behind where it should be.''
Dr De Bono will be one of 50 speakers at a two-day conference, Happiness and Its Causes, in Sydney in May. Ticket prices will range from about $245 to $1685. About 2000 people are expected to attend.
Other speakers include author Naomi Wolf, former politicians Bob Carr and Natasha Stott-Despoja, and Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton, who will speak on the topic of forgiveness.
A man rarely lost for words was stumped when asked what sort of people might attend a conference on happiness.
''That I don't know,'' he said. ''I do know, however, that people are becoming more interested in happiness. Happiness as an industry is becoming more visible.
''[The delegates] may not agree with everything that's said but as an intention and an aim it's good.''
A study of international happiness conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan ranked Australia at number 22, one place below Britain and seven below New Zealand.
Happiness rates have decreased over the past 60 years, with Australia one of the few countries showing a downward trend.