Today’s online Independent has posted this story. Apparently, the country’s top ranked universities have a problem accepting the academic merit of such courses as drama, media studies and performance and tourism, preferring such old fashioned subjects as Physics, History and Languages ……. I can’t believe this is even news!!!!! Surely this is so ridiculously obvious that anyone with two brain cells to rub together would have grasped this already.
I think that what worries me the most is the fact that our young people are being encouraged by the government and their schools to take these ‘soft subjects’ and told that they are considered as being just the same as the more traditional A Levels. While I have my own ideas about the validity of these subjects, I’m not going to go into that now. The fact is that universities want certain skills and they need to be sure that their applicants have learned them. The academics themselves don’t have any experience of drama, media studies or performing arts, so they don’t know what skills these pass on. What they do know is that Physics and Further Maths A Levels means that their applicants for science will have the appropriate level of maths for their course, that applicants for Law who have French A level have no problem with strange and difficult vocabulary and that Arts applicants with an A level in English literature have had plenty of practice writing academic essays. By telling students that the top universities will consider drama on the same level as English Lit schools are potentially damaging their chances of getting into Russell Group universities. It’s all well and good saying that these alternative options are just as useful, just as valid, but until universities come around to this way of thinking, the bright pupils should continue to consider ‘traditional’ academic A levels as their route to the top. And since Languages are widely considered one of the hardest subjects to get good marks in, teachers should definitely encourage their pupils to study them!