Is English slowly becoming redundant (Mr Gove sure agrees!)?
From the vast amounts of research I have conducted over the past year in preparation for my teacher training application, I have come to a number of conclusions based on news and statistics, which I find quite shocking: the TDA and Department for Education have not only reduced the number of secondary teacher trainee places available for next year, but they have de-classified English, History and ICT as ‘non-priority’ subjects. In other words, they are not as important as shortage subjects including mathematics, science and languages.
To undermine the importance of English is a bold move for any government, but hardly surprising given their track record of placing business and on-the-job training apparently above university and higher education. Their view is that, quite simply, they’d much rather have business people or those with vocational skills than someone who can recite Shakespeare or describe every rule of grammar.
Media studies, for example, is now overtaking many subjects in terms of significance, particularly since nobody anticipated the sudden surge in multimedia, news, social media and the internet. Media graduates are amongst the most employable, yet they still need basic English skills. However, I share the opinion of many scholars that literature is a somewhat ambiguous discipline – it may be very well to have the ability to critically analyse and be able to debate and discuss, but is studying literature for three years really a worthwhile option (more of a lifestyle decision, some may say)?
The same goes for history and other subjects. The government have now placed what is still a core national curriculum subject – English – as a non-priority subject for entrance, perhaps because they are over-subscribed with English teachers and those wanting to teach ESOL abroad. So, Mr Cameron, literature may be a pointless study activity and learning grammar may only be of importance for skills and self-development, but please do not undermine the importance of higher education!