It's the education system, of more specifically the examination companies. Time was they employed ex teachers or those who wanted some extra cash. People who knew the curriculum backwards and thus could be allowed to exercise DISCRETION. But then the penny pinchers came in and made them into lean money making machines. They started paying peanuts and so the ex teachers gave it up and they had to employ monkeys to mark exam scripts. No discretion was possible.
The schools cottoned onto this and they now make kids rote learn the correct responses, in the 'right' form of words. Creativity and initiative are thus penalised at exam time.
A few years ago when the youngest was still at school she came to me with a biology worksheet that kept being marked wrong and she couldn't understand why. Me being a biologist she asked me if her answers were right, they were. So she took this to her teacher who told her that they may have been right but they were not in the correct form of words and the above was why it was important to learn them.
Another problem is ambulance chasing lawyers (NOT elfin safety). Business is scared of being sued by no-win-no-fee lawyers so all procedures must be seen to have been adhered to to the letter as anything not 'standard' is what the lawyers feed on (you didn't follow procedures did you?).
Between these two forces all initiative is squashed out of people. 'I can't do that, it's more than job's worth'. Sound familiar?