rant= “STEAM; science, technology, engineering, arts and maths. Recently, there have been articles in the media and online about how the arts should be included in the Ebacc. For those of you who are unaware, the Ebacc is short for the English Baccalaureate. It is a measure that requires students to study English, Mathematics, Science, as well as a Humanity (Geography, History or RS) and a Language at GCSE level, and gain at least a C in these subjects. Nicky Morgan, the UK’s education secretary has recently announced that she would like for 90% of sixteen year olds to achieve this measure. I know what you’re thinking, “where are the arts among all of these subjects?” They are not there. The Ebacc does not include any “arty” subjects, suggesting that the government does not recognise these subjects as being helpful for the future of the UK’s youth. In fact, this issue has gained a lot of recognition from the public, with a national petition attracting in excess of 100,000 signatures. There will be a parliamentary debate held on July 4th 2016, and you will even be able to watch it live here: http://parliamentlive.tv/
I am constantly told at school that the students of today are the “lawyers, doctors and politicians of tomorrow”. So really, I am never being encouraged and inspired by the various industries and career pathways I can take with qualifications in the arts. Instead, I have to focus on creating a career for myself based on an “academic” subject. But who decides on what is considered to be an “academic” subject? Why should our society be able to place a label on our field of study and judge us on how “academic” our chosen field is? As you may know, I’m a Computer Scientist. However, this was never suggested to me as being a career choice until I won a European award. Instead, I was told to become an economist, statistician or even an actuary. Why? Because these are more “feasible” career choices. Clearly my school is slightly oblivious to the rise of technology and how computers will soon be capable to do the above jobs better than a human will ever be able to.
I am going to admit, I was never particularly gifted in the arts at KS3. I was actually on the ‘cause for concern list’ in year eight art, was told my composition sounded like a cat was being strangled in music and only really showed up to half of my year nine drama lessons. But just because I was less competent in these lessons it does not mean that other members of the class did not flourish. These students are having their education limited by the government who do not recognise these subjects as being beneficial for the young people in this country. When reading through the specification for A Level Fine Art, I came across the “3,000 word personal study of the student’s choice”. Surely this study would develop existing analytical and research skills, which are vital for any university course, regardless of the discipline. This is only one of the many mediums of art accessible to the young people in the UK.
I would like to emphasise that creativity is not only present in the traditional “arty” subjects. Sometimes, I express my inner creativity with particular applications of mathematics, or write some code to perform a variety of logical operations. Just because I am not painting on a canvas or composing a piece based on minimalism, it does not mean that I am not being creative. We as students should be able to unleash our creativity in any medium that suits us. We should be able to “fire one’s irresolute clay” and become our own people. We should not be limited or judged by society based on our academic pathway. We are all different. Our education system fails to recognise the wide variety of hobbies and interests among the young people in our society. Our education system fails to recognise that all subjects are “academic” and set us up for the future. Our education system fails to recognise who we are.”