interesting thought, indeed. I know my post won`t be clear, but i need more time and space (and research =) )to express more thoroughly what i think about it
We did pride urselves with best educational system. It was pretty good and free. But now it needs to be changed.Many European countries can pride themself on having one of the best education system in the world (in fact, I can't think of better ones elsewhere). They are particularily good at giving students a broad general education, so that everyone finishing highschool should know enough history, geography, foreign languages, maths and sciences not to look stupid.
"...should know enough..." the key word is should, pretty often it doesn`t happen.
I`d start with some school problems
that`s true for both: school and university. Nowdays everyone admits that graduates lack the experience, they have the knowledge but don`t know how to apply it. And it is not rare when graduates find out that what hey`ve learnt is of no real use to anyone1) Curriculum problems : too many academic or theoretical subjects that are not useful in real life to get a job, except in research or teaching.
i would agree and disagree with some of your "possible solutions"
i think that computering is important, as well as accounting, but so do math and science. The problem i see with them is following: at school we had physics, chemistry and biology, and in most of the cases it was just a theory almost apart from reality. In US high school to fill up the list of subjects i`ve picked up "Principles of technologies". I think it`s not a bad way to teach science since it not just explains laws of physics but shows their application in daily life in common technology and such, it connects theory and practice.I would reduce the number of hours in maths and sciences in exchange for computering and accounting, which are in fact practical applications of these (especially maths).
Smth similiar can be done with chemestry (at least non-organic)
(all these keeping in mind that there exists possibility for talented pupils to get different curriculum).
I really don`t no how much of math can be given away. Math makes our brain work, it is also a language of many sciences
this one seems qiute objectionable to me. If it is about university - then fine, i`d agree that in this case law is more important. But if this is about school, then I let myself doubt. It is a disgrace when people can`t speak and write their mother-tongue well. I didn`t mind neither poetry nor any other literature (native or foreign). I don`t know how about Europe, but in RF we are supposed to write essays on staff we`ve read at class. These writings have to show our skills in logical reasoning and critical thinking, ability to analyse and make conclusions. Besides, some big works (books) are being discussed: its history, the plot, the characters, their behaviour and so on. It requires (and gives) some knowledge in psychology and phylosophy as wellI would replace literature and a good chunk of one's mother-tongue by law. Legal vocabulary is also part of one's mother's tongue, and is more useful in daily life for everyone than poetry or 17th-century plays.
That`s what we have in RF (maybe, not enough of geopolitics). But yet, i can`t get rid of the feeling that geography (as subject) lacks smth. Perhaps, this is more to do with teaching methodicsI would keep history and geography compulsory, but replace geography by geopolitics and economics (if fact, it is already how it was in my highschool).
Luckily we didn`t have any religious courses at school. But now there are talks: there should be one (up to idea of teaching them by orthodox priests). I hope this is not going to work! First of all our state is secular, and second - we live in multireligional country.I would add compulsory philosophy courses instead of morals or religion, and instead of some of the mother tongue's hours. Incredible as it is for a secular state, most Belgian schools still have (or had when I was there) compulsory religion (i.e. Catholic propaganda) classes.
I am not sure how much phylosophy school kids can handle, but history of religions (with all their pros and contras) might be not a bad idea after all.
At universities we have 1 year of compalsory phylosophy course.
I agree that there should be 2 foreign languages. One of them, more likely English, another - for a personal choice. But there smth has to be done with methodics. We study it for 6-7 years at school, but it is so rare that after it people can speak, read and understand well the language they studiedbut have 2 or 3 compulsory modern languages.
That`s what i liked in US - optional subjects. The only problem with small schools and small towns - they might not have enough teachers and other resourses for such thing. And one more problem of modern society - teens are often not mature enough to pick courses not just for fun and easy learnig, but more likely for future benefitAnother important change would be for all schools to offer as many optional subjects as possible, so as to increase students' motivation by having them choose the subjects they want to study (well, as much as possible).
And one more (but not last, for sure) thing with growing and changing standards of education responsibilities and skills of teachers might not be able to grow fast enough to meet them. Some moderation needed to balance the demands of society and "qualities" of its human resourses (and not only human), and to meet the challenge of educational changes
Sorry, i am short on time, so, my thought on universities i`ll post a bit later