OPINION 12 things kids should learn instead of Latin

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Introducing Latin into public schools when the education system has never felt so out of place or detached from real life challenges sounds like a bad joke.

As Britain’s economic landscape crumbles under growing gaps in skills vital to boosting the economy, how can we best prepare young Britons to become capable and economically viable independent citizens?

Spend £ 4million to add an ancient dead language to the program, what else?

This is Gavin ‘Frank Spencer’ Williamson’s response to making languages ​​less elitist.

The irony that a language requiring logical thinking in a Latin excellence program will instantly create elitism is clearly lost on the Secretary of State for Education.


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It may be based on the Mandarin Excellence Program, but Mandarin is a relevant language in great demand for today’s business world that makes its researchers immediately employable. When was the last time a job specification was requested for Latin?

However, I like Williamson’s statement: “There should be no difference in what students learn in public schools and independent schools.

We know that the time spent on the sports field for our sedentary young people will be the time space sacrificed for the Latin conjugation integrated into an already overloaded curriculum, contributing to the increasingly rarefied irrelevance of our schools with the world that is happening outside their doors.

Rather than visiting Roman heritage sites, our young people would benefit far more from lessons on how to change a socket and calculate interest payments than from a deeper understanding of the classics and life in the ancient world, fascinating as it is.

I am a big advocate of education for education, but I worry about the direction our education system is taking, where real-life relevance with useful skills is sinking deeper and deeper into the agenda. .

Academia will never be for everyone. Rather than embracing the skills that allow our country to function and appreciate the technical, scientific and technical aspects on which our economy is based, there is even more contempt for “trades” and practice.


Forget baking rock cakes … Rachel Moore says kids need to learn about good nutrition in school
– Credit: Getty Images / iStockphoto

While other countries value technical education in the same way as university education, and we cry out loudly for computer scientists, engineers, scientists, project managers … the list is long, we insist on doing relive an old and obsolete language, as stimulating and stimulating as it is. fun historic Cambridge Mary Beard says it is.

Then offer it as an extra-curricular activity.

There are 100 other useful topics that should be above this priority for our young people, Mr Williamson.

I have yet to meet a school graduate who would not benefit from any of the items below.

Trip planning: Reading bus and train timetables and planning a trip using public transport and purchasing the right tickets is a basic but necessary skill that still manages to baffle some adults.

Personal finance: Teach teens to navigate the minefield of money, understand terms used in finance and banking and how to pay bills, calculate interest, what it means to have a pension, how to buy a house, what is insurance and why you need it would address so many issues that trip people up later in life.

Basic knowledge about taxes, mortgages, debts, comparison sites, and payday loans is an essential education for life, but ends up being learned along the way, because who listens to parents at 16?

Entrepreneurship: Learning the basics of business and how it works would make it easier to assess whether people have the sense and motivation to go it alone or prefer to work for someone else.

Diet, diet and exercise: The basics of healthy living and how what and how much you eat affects your physical and mental health.

Physical education classes should focus less on competition and excellence than on lifelong health and fitness. Not everyone will be on the team, but everyone has some control over their health and well-being. It could topple a nation of back problems.

Simple DIY and home maintenanceKnowing how to change a stopper, unblock a sink, use a drill, and basic paint and decorate could change lives.

Make a doctor’s appointment – and when not to go to A&E: A crash course in how the health service works, what to use for what and when would save a lot of time in A&E services.

Cooking: Learning to cook and plan menus and food stores rather than rock cakes and scotch eggs in the home economy of our generation. It would tackle food waste as well as family health and budgeting.

First aid: A clear improvement in any school curriculum and a lifelong skill that could save lives.

Typing: Everyone needs it who works with keyboards. Leaning over a desk while typing with two fingers is not good for anyone.

Digital label: Learning to behave online is a necessary and obvious life skill today.

Voting, government and local government: Who does what in which council, what is the housing tax and why everyone should vote.

Driving (practical and theoretical): Young people have to continue their education or training until the age of 18, so they have to learn to drive, which employers often demand (unlike Latin) and which is a basic lifelong skill.

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