Learning in School is Useless?

“90% of what we teach in school is a waste of time… It just doesn’t matter.”

This is a statement that I have been asked to reflect on. In truth, it is a subject that has sparked a lot of thinking in my time since leaving school. I think there is some level of truth to it, however, realise it differs per person.

Primary school is one of the exceptions to this rule. I am of the belief that primary education is the foundation for everything else that we learn on the journey that is life. This initial foundation is the epicentre for the tools we use to pick up additional knowledge as well as being the secondary agent of socialisation — outside of the family environment — where every young person learns how to become a member of society. It is because of this that I think that it would be simply ludicrous to suggest that only one-tenth of learning in primary school is relevant.

The main strength of my thinking is what is taught in secondary education. Although I don’t necessarily agree that ninety percent of learning is a waste of time, I believe the education system is not perfect for every attendee. In a world that has more jobs and professions than ever before, not all of them are rooted in education. I have met many individuals who did not find happiness or satisfaction whilst attending school, often reflected in their grades upon leaving. However, a significantly high level of leavers from my year who did leave before beginning S5 landed on their feet when entering employment and have since got great standings in the years following. This shocked me in those days as I bought into the ‘you’re a delinquent if you don’t leave school with highers‘ mindset.

Alas, this brings me to my current train of thought. What good is forcing modern studies on someone who wants to become a barber when they are older? Why teach drama to a kid who dreams of being an artist? Outside of STEM subjects, I believe the essentiality of school subjects to a learner is subjective. What may be 90% waste of time to one person differs from the teaching I received as knowledge whilst I teach generations to come. Even though I greatly value what I learnt whilst at school, who am I to tell others how they feel on the subject? However, I do strongly believe that the skills we learn within the primary school environment very much is the basis for how we live life as we age. This is due both to being the base level of understanding as well as the vital hidden curriculum.

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