I think many of you -my non-existing readers- agree schools need to teach practical skills. Even if there are no specialised vocational trainings, at least there should be introductory classes for high schoolers.
But, it seems others take a much more extreme approach to the suggestion.
My idea of ideal education compels students to study both the theoretical disciplines and the practical ones. Liberal arts and vocational education all in one.
I don’t know how much people out there who share my idea. But, I do know some people want to go as far as eliminating theories from the curricula altogether. Replace algebra with finance, they say. Things like algebra are only suitable for universities, they say.
Basically, they want literally every high school to be a vocational high school. Their reasoning? They want to get rid of elitism and they want to improve socio-economic mobility of lower-income youths; studying ‘useless knowledge’ would hinder them from achieving the goals, they believe.
Yeah, that’s a load of shit.
Yes, practical disciplines do teach us about what is and isn’t feasible. But, it does not encourage us to question our worldview. Do you know what can encourage us to be sceptical? The so-called ‘useless’ disciplines!
They teach us about how the world works socially, politically, economically, biologically, physically, chemically, philosophically, you name it! The more you learn about those different perspectives, the easier it is for you to widen your horizon, to think more critically and creatively.
With better critical and creative thinking, it would be much easier for you to move upward. Well, ideally.
But, even if critical and creative thinking does not guarantee social mobility, I still think only teaching students practical disciplines is detrimental to our society in the long run..
The thing about the so-called ‘useless’ disciplines is they encourage us to learn for the sake of knowledge, to learn without expecting any rewards. If pre-university education teaches nothing but practical disciplines, people will perceive learning for the sake of knowledge as an elite endeavour.
People will believe this endeavour is only suitable for anyone who can afford university tuition fees AKA the wealthy. Even if the tuition fees are affordable for everyone, the misguidedly elitism would still be there.
Why? Because -while no longer reserved for the wealthy- learning for the sake of knowledge is still reserved for a handful of people: anyone who can handle university settings.
The already-existing ivory towers will become more towering and more indestructible.
Seriously, why is the idea of teaching both theories and practical skills so alien for many people? Why can’t we learn both pure mathematics and finance at the same time? Physics and engineering? Chemistry and medicine? Sociology and marketing? Literature and business communication? Studio art and carpentry?
Why can’t we learn both? Porque no los dos?
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