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Sorry, I can't entirely agree with the above. Yes, schools have an important role in teaching children/young people socialisation skills, but as important, learning skills. General knowledge subjects, such as History, Geography should be taught from about Primary School Grade 3 or Grade 4, as they were when I was young. Of course basics, like English and mathematics should start at Day 1 Year 1. In Grade six, higher mathematics, sciences along with skill based subjects such as woodwork, metalwork cooking etc. By introducing a fairly wide curriculum, the system should be able to weed out those with an academic bent from those who will work in the trade system and those who will, by necessity, work in so-called unskilled positions. College, Grades 11 and 12 are the preparatory years for University, where the students choose their future career and which is the final stage for the academics, medicos, lawyers, accountants etc. Languages, as an optional extra, depending on the countrys global position and needs, should reflect the requirement of the individual or even the particular community to communicate with neighbours. Basically, the above is how it is in Australia, although every day I see examples of sloppy education in almost every walk of life, with poor grammar, spelling and pronounciation at the forefront.
I have never had such classes as woodwork, metalwork, cooking or the like. It's not part of the curriculum in many countries.
I agree that mother tongue and mathematics should be taught from day one in primary school. But that's almost the only thing that was taught in primary school in my days. I longed for history and science classes but had to wait until the 6th grade (11 years old) to have the first introduction in either (hence I started by myself). Likewise I find it shocking that kids only begin to learn to read and write in the first grade (from age 6 in most countries) while it could easily be taught fro 4 or 5 years old. 95% of children in Belgium go to (free) kindergarten from 3 years old, so it's not unreasonable. Compulsory education should start from 3 or 4 years old and children should already start to read then.
I am also dismayed that even in a multilingual country like Belgium foreign language learning only truly start from secondary school (12 years old) and, in my experience, the teaching methods were utterly antiquated and inefficient (far too theoretical, too much emphasis on grammar and rare exceptions). Language specialists almost all agree that the earlier one starts to learn a language the easier it is to acquire it. The first foreign language should be taught from age 6 or before. Then the second and third can come in secondary school, since there wouldn't be enough time at primary school. Then if after compulsory school people want to learn a fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh language, like I did, they can more easily do it on their own, as they already have the experience of learning several languages. For example I taught myself Japanese in my twenties.