With so much focus on the employment sector in light of the recent economic problems, the nature of our children’s education is continually being questioned. For years a system has been in place which prioritizes certain subjects above others, but should this system be altered? And should some subjects be made compulsory up to an older age?
As a general rule the ‘core’ subjects of English (Literature and Language), Mathematics, and Science are compulsory up until the age of 16 (until G.C.S.E qualifications). These subjects have long been considered necessary for building a firm educational foundation intended to benefit children later in life, but is this really the case?
The truth is that it is now generally compulsory for a modern foreign language to be studied to the same level, and whilst it is not compulsory to take physical education as an assessed subject for these examinations it remains a compulsory element of school education. The intention of these latter two examples is to provide two very specific skills. A useful edge in today’s competitive and internationally involved business world (through the knowledge of a modern foreign language) and to ensure physical fitness and well-being (through physical education).
These added requirements are generally enforced by both public and private schools alike, intending to help equip students with the necessary skills in order to perform well within the business market of the UK. However, a number of questions have been raised as to whether these subjects should be made compulsory for an even older age.
The intention of this is to help improve the state of the economy by ensuring that students and employers have the best skills possible. The arguments for and against this idea vary in opinion. Some think that these subjects should be favored whilst others think that more practical subjects could be embraced in order to increase the prevalence of certain, more specific, skills within the market.
The benefits of the compulsory studies of English and other languages are said to be plentiful. The ability to engage in varied communication and interaction in order to establish strong working relationships and promote business is seen as a key skill. The latter part of this statement is especially important given the multicultural nature of today’s society and the increased prevalence of international business links.
Mathematics and Science, however, give students a basic understanding of simple functions and are especially valuable within more practical employment fields. Mathematics, in particular, is viewed as an essential skill within all aspects of business and employment.
The disadvantage of making these subjects compulsory for a higher age bracket is the idea that it would stifle the creativity and personality of students, forcing them to study subjects that they may not be comfortable with. This idea has seen an increase in the number of schools that specialize in other areas, such as sports schools, which aim to increase the options available to children rather than restricting them to study the core subjects.