By: Marie Kemokai
“In our modern day society— Science is clearly the most important subject that is taught to young people.”
Hello ladies and gentlemen. Today we will be discussing the importance of science to young people, or rather students. I will be going against the motion stated above. Now, I think it is important to note that science is a broad subject — having several branches. It would be ignorant for me to completely discredit and denounce the social and economic impacts of science today. It has provided simple household appliances like microwaves, to our so beloved electronics (which I assume you are using to read this right now). Science has aided in giving us a better understanding of not only how we as humans work, but the environment we surround ourselves in and the environment beyond that (ie. astrology). It’s safe to say, we wouldn’t be here today without science. Though, do I think it is fair to blackmail and pressure youths into conforming to what we believe to be the “most important” subject? Of course not! And maybe I’m being biased because I am a youth myself, but hear me out. Let us begin to review what deems a subject “more important” (in my opinion) through a series of short questions to make you think; Will this subject be important to you once you graduate (Yes you, not your parents, not your teachers either)? Does this subject align with your (desired) career choice? Do you think this subject will bring you food to your plate, clothes on your back? Will it fill you with a sense of individualism? It’s always good to remember that students are still individuals rather than clay you can mold into whatever you want them to be or “information sponges” that will retain every useless fact you chuck at them. Remember, young people are still people with hopes and dreams for their own future. And it will only be a matter of time before they stop relying on what others believe to be beneficial for them, rather than what they feel would be beneficial for themselves. Frankly speaking, I believe expecting every student to contribute to the world of science is not only beyond shortsighted, but suffocating to the youths falling victim to such pressure. With education, there has always seemed to be a stigma around subjects that don’t fall under science. There is even a larger stigma around students wanting to pursue such “unorthodox” fields. The “subject politics” seems to almost always hold science to a higher regard. And it has also reflected in my personal life as an art student. It’s emotionally draining hearing your teachers say “you only chose art stream to run away from science!” or hearing them tell you friend “you are too smart for arts stream!” or “you are wasting your time in art stream”. Why does everyone think science is so important? I could easily refer to the fact that “the world is evolving and science is becoming largely associated with it” ,but I want to look at this from a “social observational” aspect. I believe there are three major reasons as to why society and the education system is fairly science biased. The first reason would be the quite apparent Logical vs Creative/Physical dispute. Logical subjects (such as maths, physics, science and etc) are on a pedestal. Unless you are insanely good at any of these subjects, from a social lense, you aren’t considered smart nor competent. In our everyday lives such prejudices against creative and physical subjects can actually go quite unnoticed. A common example of this would be the fact that art, music and sports are generally extracurricular activities opposed to their more “logical” opponents being established subjects. In my case, we don’t even have visual or auditory arts at my school anymore , nor do we have PE in high school! How peculiar! Another reason would be indirect misogyny. Yes, you heard me right. The evolution of girls and education was an interesting process as it was often mandated by men (and society). Women weren’t seen as competent so they were subjected to only learning the arts and language, because it was “easier for them to understand”. “More practical” subjects were what boys were supposed to learn, which in this case is science. As a result, regarding education, the arts have carried the negative connotations of being as inferior to science. It’s association with femininity throughout history has painted the picture of it being “less pragmatic”. Moreover, this results in the running stereotypes that; 1- Art students are unintelligent and 2- Art is a gift rather than a skill. The second stereotype may not always be as harmful, though in regards to education and work, it may lead to artists being taken less seriously by not only the career market, but by their own costumers (eg. asking for free art… don’t do it, it can be extremely demeaning to some!). The last reason would be the lack of establishment with creative and physical careers. This, unlike the other two reasons stated, are what I deem to be an understandable concern. It is harder to get into less ‘logical’ fields of work as it is hard to guarantee success. Look at Edgar Alan Poe for example, he was suffering from several financial situations throughout his lifetime and only after his death did his poems and short story begin garnering traction. According to BestUsCasinos, there is only a 0.16% chance to be drafted as a pro athlete, for example. The stakes are high, but could be met by more students if the education system was more attentive to other subjects. The problem here once again lays in the education system’s lack of support of Creative/Physical subjects. If I’m learning how to practice animation on my own without professional aid, of course it’ll be harder for me to enter the industry. By perpetuating the idea of a subject being more important, individuality amongst students is discouraged, as is their differing interests. It is especially more destructive to the youth— as stating science to “clearly” more important can be interpreted as very condescending to non science students and educators. By ingraining this belief of educational inferiority, youths expressing interests in pursuing subjects contrary to science is perceived “unrealistic”. Ironically speaking, it is even more unrealistic to expect every young person to utilize science in their future. By doing so you are holding this person’s supposed success over their happiness. It is in a way, implying that you have no faith in this person’s ability to specialize in other fields. An aspiring economist or business person can contribute to society just as much a physician or doctor can. Holding a subject to a higher caliber of importance leads to schools stressing more on teaching this subject, that not everyone is interested in. It leads to the erasure of serious training for students of other fields. As a result, our aspiring footballer isn’t given serious training, and unless they use their time to train themselves, they are subjected to being the neurosurgeon that modern day society so “clearly” wants them to be. I hope you see the problem here. School, the place where we go to learn and develop our skills in order to fulfill our dreams, is mandating what is and isn’t important. At the end of the day, we’re going to school and retaining information not for ourselves but what is believed to be “best” for us. Will the aspiring author consider science to be their most important subject? No. Will the aspiring track star consider science to be their most important subject? No. Will the aspiring restaurant owner consider science to be their most important subject? No. Will the aspiring astronomer consider science to be their most important subject? Yes. Clearly, the most important subject taught to young people is what they deem to be the most important. A subject they genuinely show interest in using in the future is more important. A subject that makes them happy is more important. Not what is considered to garner more success or money or is considered more beneficial to our modern day society. By saying Science is more important than other subjects taught, this sets out the message that dreams aren’t important so long that they are comformative with what society considers to be important. And that is an extremely damaging notion to stand by. The most important subject isn’t a set concept, no, it is qualia, varying depending on person to person.