Some people suggest that schools should pay more attention to academic subjects because these subjects are useful for students’ future careers. They think that subjects like music and sports are not useful and should be reduced.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Every school graduate knows a class that they deemed ‘a waste of time’: whether through poor teaching or poor content, it appeared to bear little relevance to actual life. Yet whilst it is understandable to believe that some subjects are less useful than others, the notion that sacrificing these in order to spend the majority of time on traditional academia could improve future job performance is false for a number of reasons.

Firstly, the blunt reality is that the majority of jobs do not rely on any great academic skills. On-the-job training, common sense and the right attitude will suffice for many positions, and for those that do need heavy academia (medicine, law, sciences) it is very unlikely that one will leave university – let alone high school – with the level of expertise required to immediately and successfully step into work. The sad truth is that, in actuality, most academic courses are not ‘job friendly’.

A further problem with the argument of doing heavyweight classes at the expense of frivolous subjects is deciding what is, and what is not, worthwhile. The argument for exclusion levelled at sports or music could be equally placed upon algebra, calculus, medieval history and literature for they are all fairly redundant to the average office worker. Indeed, if anything, supposedly unintellectual technical and sports classes have a greater everyday relevance to most people than theory-heavy traditional subjects.

For me, a smarter solution to this whole issue is to promote flexibility and choice. Allowing students to choose the direction of their study as the years progress not only ensures pupils get the education they desire, but also promotes the responsibility that comes with decision-making. This model is already used in many nations and is more inclusive than trying to bend an entire curriculum structure to one opinion.

In conclusion it is an erroneous move for some individuals to choose which disciplines are of superior merit based purely on their personal opinion. Excluding some classes on the grounds of being ‘unacademic’, without reflecting objective analysis back on their preferred choices, is merely academic snobbery. It is better to promote a solution that allows co-existence and choice around personal interest and – to be fair – most education systems already realise this.