Arts versus engines

Are STEM subjects being over-encouraged, allowing the Arts and Humanities to wither away?

In recent years there has been a boom in the encouragement of STEM subjects in schools. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

These are often seen as ‘proper’ subjects. When choosing GCSE and A-Level options many teens say they are being pressured into choosing subjects they feel they should, rather than what they enjoy, and are good at.

‘Soft’ subjects like Art, Textiles, Drama and Music and being looked down on, and if they are your choice, you are made to feel inadequate, some students claim.

It’s true that some people may feel geography is easier than maths, but for others it’s vice versa.  

People are being prejudiced towards non-STEM subject. You may think this doesn’t include you, but who do you respect more, a doctor or a geography teacher.

They both deserve the same amount or respect. A doctor is not their superior, their strengths just lie in different places.

We spoke to our deputy head teacher, Mrs Smith about why triple science is mandatory in our school.

She said: “We see the benefit of science for all people, not just those who want to pursue a STEM related career but for all career areas.”

As early as primary school, dance, art and drama are being offered in clubs because they aren’t considered “real” subjects that are needed at “big school”.

There appears to be a stigma with the arts that only “unintelligent” students take those subjects. Maybe it’s no surprise that this stigma exists: we’re in a society that is obsessed with living for the future.

Many parents are pressuring their children into these scientific fields of work and these pupils are having less and less of say in their options.

Many students with a talent for the arts are forced by parent and peer pressure to choose STEM subjects.

Mrs Smith continued: “STEM is very important in an emerging world, and a global world. As far as woman in STEM are concerned, they are very under represented, so I think its important STEM is promoted.

“However, we must also be very carefully not to promote STEM at the expense of the arts and Humanities. We are also very strong with the creative arts and music and humanities at this school. All of our girls have a good balance of subjects. We have a range of amazing mathematicians, brilliant artists and fantastic historians.”

We also went and talked to Mr. Tutin, a drama teacher at our school, we asked if he thought drama was being affected by the rapid increase in in emphasis on STEM subjects.

He said in response “It is undeniable that the rise of STEM hasn’t affected the numbers taking on Arts at GCSE and A-level. However there is a different faculty coming out in some areas, called STEAM, this is Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics, which is far more diverse and varied.”

We also know that in many cases it’s not just the children that are ignorant and uneducated about the amount of work that goes into Arts and Humanities qualifications, but their parents.

Many parents don’t have an accurate perception of the amount of hard work that student put into non-STEM subjects, this can lead to the parents being “pushy”, when it comes to their kids choosing what subjects to take for GCSE and A-Level.

Reported by Charlie Barnecutt and Maddie McLeod

BBC School Report