Education has a twin purpose. It must improve both the individual students and the society in which they will live. It is therefore my duty to point out some gaping holes in all of our basic educations'. I will also try to point out why these subjects aren’t taught.
I think it is acceptable to say that there aren’t enough doctors and nurses in the world without resorting to statistics. But if you insist:
"By 2020, physicians are expected to retire at a rate of 22,000 a year, up from 9,000 in 2000."
Doctor numbers are expected to drop off rapidly in America in the next two decades whilst the demand is expected to skyrocket. "People are waiting weeks for appointments; emergency departments have lines out the door," if that’s the case in America then we are truly screwed over here in blighty.
There is a simple solution to this double headed problem, educate children from the age of five about healthcare. I’m not saying give them a scalpel and let them hack someone up, but basic healthcare of how to look after yourself should be taught from a young age. As the student progresses more sophisticated medical practices should be taught such as anatomy and disease diagnosis.
Before going to university the pupils’ knowledge of medicine would be so advanced that medical degrees could be cut by two years. In addition we would probably see a fall in dropouts rates from medical degrees because applicants would have a good idea of the work involved before signing up.
The main problem with introducing medicine to schools is; who’s going to teach it? Hopefully all those retiring doctors would fill the teaching positions, but then how much would they get paid? Going from being a doctor to a teacher is quite a pay cut.
Do you know your rights? Glad to hear it, but then you are an Everythingian, the elite of informed society. Most people do not.
Teaching young kids there basic rights will not only lead to a fairer society, but it will also lead to a more stable one. Police and magistrates could be recruited far easier if people were taught some rudimentary understanding of law from an early age. Later on formal debating could be practiced on mute points or in mock trials, this will give the students confidence in public speaking and teach them how to argue properly. Issues such as justice and morality are all intrinsic to the study of law. If done properly this could improve society so much.
Why this hasn’t been done? Can you imagine a bunch of kids running around with the power of the law in there little brains?
- ‘Jenkins! Detention!’
- ‘But Sir, that decision is incongruent with the modern concept of justice.’
- ‘How so Jenkins?’
- ‘You have no prima facie evidence against me, and you can’t establish mens rea.’
who introduces this to education will condemn teachers and parents to a new dimension of hell.
Claiming that the advantages of studying medicine and law to both the individual and the state appear to be obvious. Philosophy might be stretching credibility a bit.
I want you to think of philosophy as a catalyst to education, it might not be practical but it makes understanding easier. It is a subject that teaches what all other subjects teach vicariously. Philosophy teaches us how to think. As well as studying biology, chemistry and physics pupils can study the philosophy of science and so rate the scientific basis of those subjects.
As well as studying English literature and modern languages the student can study the philosophy of language and learn about the limits of our abilities to communicate.
Philosophy encourages overlap between subjects. There is no area of human endeavour which is outside of its scope to influence, by including it into the educational system we can reach out to pupils who might not be interested in mainstream subjects.
As for why this hasn’t happened, I’ve no idea, I cannot see a downside to a gentle introduction to philosophy. It seems that philosophy missed the boat when English literature was being introduced to schools from university. Out of all the suggestions made here this would be the easiest to introduce.
There is a traditional feel to education and I find that unacceptable. The core subjects have remained essentially the same for hundreds of years.
The need for these subjects has been spotted but they have been fixed using patches onto other subjects. Basic healthcare is taught in Personal Social Education and home economics. Philosophy is covered in part in Religious Education at GCSE although there is now an A-level available in philosophy. Law is also available in some schools at GCSE and A-level and there is a plan to introduce citizenship classes to younger years.
The problem with teaching these subjects as a patch is that they are usually added onto a subject which is considered a ‘soft choice’. Each of these subjects deserves to be taught in its own right, and deserves to be taken seriously with a high level of attainment in each one. This piecemeal development of education is neither enjoyable nor is it informative.
I have not facetiously underemphasised the large difficulties involved in the introduction of these subjects, but the difficulties are still small enough to allow them to be implemented. We need these subjects early on in school before we can claim to have a rounded educational system.
Paraclete has some major reservations on the useful, practical and moral grounds for the introduction of medical studies to schools.
Firstly the practicality of getting enough teachers is far worse than I had stated, the teaching courses at university are already understaffed. Medicine is a way of life which requires continuous learning throughout a carrier. Doctors are already teaching doctors full time.
Secondly Biology and Chemistry are good precursors to a medical degree and are as such are prerequisite subjects for applying to do one.
Thirdly the number of doctors being trained is proportional to the amount of funding the government gives to universities. Therefore as a funding issue the money spent training children would be better used to provide more university places.
Fourthly the study of medicine is so large that shoehorning additional years in before a medical degree would have little or no effect on the time it takes to become a doctor or on the effectiveness of those doctors. Each of these subjects could be considered a degree in itself: Pharmacology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, pathology cardiology, communication skills, ethics, sociology, psychology. Effectively A-levels are not based around learning things as broadly or deeply enough to prepare for a medical degree.
Finally, and most importantly, the emotional devastation created by forcing a child to confront morbid death is morally inexcusable.
The Debutante Takes issue with the fact that many of the subjects are partly taught in schools already; either at GCSE level and above, or as parts of other subjects. I have changed the conclusion of my write up to reflect this.
The Debutante also considers basic reading writing and mathematical skills to be of the utmost and primary importance, an opinion I wholeheartedly agree with.
Thank you for all your comments, I have received an unprecedented response from this write up.