EVERY time A-Level results roll around, I’m always equally taken on a trip down memory lane (a path which seems to get longer with every waking second) and surprised by certain patterns in Britain’s education system.
Whilst all of these bright young things get excited about university, I try to hold back my opinion that what they really have in store is spending an excess of £27,000 on an alcohol dependency and a lifetime of anxiety and financial woes. Some may call this pessimistic, I call it realistic.
In this year’s episode of “let’s-cross-analyse-young-people-using-statistics-rather-than-actually-speaking-to-them,” The Times cited a drop in arts and humanities based subjects and a subsequent rise in so called “STEM” based subjects.
33% of all university entries this year were in science, technology, engineering, and maths, up almost ten percent from last decade.
Applications for English language fell by 10.2% and history by 8.1%. English literature took the worst hit- until 2013, it was the most popular A-Level, now it is sixth.
As an English Literature graduate, I’m kind of saddened by this news (or, maybe three years of over-analyzing metaphors means I’m in a constant state of melancholy.) Whilst I did decide to study English Literature in full knowledge my job prospects would fall short of someone taking maths or bio-something-or-other, I never wanted an adult job anyway, so I think I can just about live with myself.
The “Science Community,” who we all know is a bunch of nerds sat around computers flicking boogers at each other, is understandably delighted now science is in vogue. “Mathematics is essential for understanding the modern world and provides the foundations for economic prosperity,” said Frank Kelly, chairman of the Royal Society’s advisory committee on mathematics.
“History, art and literature fill our museums, our social structures and our culture, and to lose that would mean losing our full understanding of the world around us.”
I’m not discrediting science and maths for a second- I can barely operate a calculator so imagine if hundreds of versions of me were put in charge of running the economy. However, I believe social progress, which has never been so needed in today’s deeply divided society, requires a diversity of mind set and a world of knowledge that is not just limited to facts and figures.
Subjects notorious for having no “right” answer like English, philosophy, and art require you to think critically, questioning everything and refusing to see the world in black and white. History, art, and literature fill our museums, our social structures, and our culture, and to lose that would mean losing our full understanding of the world around us.
When science and art come together- that is when real change is made. My university housemates all did science subjects, and although they would plead superiority to my arts degree, we were able to have discussions that tackled big issues with an open mind.
University should not be a matter of segregating science and arts degrees, but rather building an academic community that is able to share the kind of knowledge and ideas that has the power to change the world. Optimistic perhaps, but an ambitious possibility nonetheless.
FOLLOWING… @vegansofldn scour the city in search of the best vegan finds- sucks if you don’t live in London but awesome if you have an oyster card and buckets of free time.
EATING…Junk food, vegan junk food to be exact. During my travels in Amsterdam, I was craving comfort food and stumbled across the Vegan Junk Food Bar, which does what it says on the tin. Their menu is 100% plant based, and with everything from burgers, fries, sandwiches and “chicken” nuggets, I’m praying they open a branch in London soon!
WATCHING… The Incredible Jessica James- I’d heard whispers about this Netflix original film on social media, but it exceeded all of my traditionally low expectations. Jessica Williams plays Jessica James, a struggling playwright trying to navigate her way through her complex love life. Whilst she’s stylish and sassy, she can also be vulnerable and just plain clueless about relationships. Refusing to play into any black woman stereotype, this is the most relatable black female character on mainstream TV to date.
LISTENING… SZA- I came across this songstress by accident despite my Dad saying “have you heard of scissor?” so many times because I thought he was referring to an EDM artist. SZA, real name Solana Imani Rowe, is a breakthrough R ‘n’ B artist serving Jhene Aiko soul and Nicki Minaj realness. Her debut album Ctrl is just dreamy.