The Education Secretary, Nicky Morgan, has argued that students studying arts subjects will have limited career options and hold themselves back for the rest of their lives.
Morgan was speaking at a campaign to promote the STEM learning group i.e Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and claimed that the idea of the arts keeping students careers open could not be further from the truth.
Apparently, these so called STEM subjects are the only options if you want a stable career and want to keep all your options open.
I tried to keep this article balanced, but as a former arts student myself, I’m going all #ArtsLover over this.
The Stable Career Myth
I understand that pursuing arts as a career can be unstable at times, and that it is hard to get a job within the arts industry full time. However, may I ask you lovely readers of Kettle, exactly what job is stable? No job is truly secure, and it is going to be difficult for a student such as myself to get a job when I graduate. The jobs market is a competitive world , so when Morgan tells us that by studying “more academic subjects” we can get a secure job, she is peddling a dangerous myth.
As Frisky and Mannish say in their Pop Centre Plus Video, music and dance is the hardest profession in the world.
This is going to sound very cliché, which I do apologise for, however, if it was not for studying Dance, English and Performing Arts, I would not be where I am today. Studying these subjects as A Levels, I have gained a lot of skills and experiences from them. Drama has taught me a number of skills that I can transfer to a job, whether that be academic, industrial, or part time. Far from being useless, these subjects have improved my confidence, performance, and critical thinking skills, which are all very important in my working life.
So, tell me how knowing the Pi theorem will give you those skills? Sitting in a classroom and learning numbers and sequences will get you as far as 3.1415926535. I don’t know about you, but to me that doesn’t sound very far.
Doing the Research
I questioned my non-arts peers and asked them if they would ever stand in front of our small class and give a presentation on what their favourite film was. Most of them turned a pale white at the thought of simply standing up and looking out at a class of 10. I then asked my performing arts friends how they would feel about carrying out this task, and they all jumped at the thought; simply because studying drama has taught them the skills to overcome stage fright.
This is not to say that the non-arts people amongst us can’t learn these skills, as only a few days ago the BBC posted an article about how the technolgy and science industries needed more creatively thinking people. (Stick that in your pipe and smoke it, Morgan!) In reality, employers are consistently getting STEM students in who, whilst they have the technical skills to work, lack the creative and critical skills to be just that, creative.
It looks as though the STEM subjects are opposing Morgan’s views and are welcoming the arts into their arms.
So, to me, it sounds as though we all need more High School Musicals in our lives, as studying the arts can be more useful than our Education Secretary seems to think.