The dictionary states that an education is "the act or process of imparting or acquiring particular knowledge or skills, as for a profession". I believe this statement adequately describes what most of us believe the purpose of an education is; to prepare us for all possible careers that we wish to pursue as adults.
While I believe that the education is up to scratch in most subject areas, I believe that some aspects of the secondary school English curriculum are failing to adequately prepare us for the future. After spending the past three weeks reading Shakespeare's Macbeth, I fail to see the purpose in the Y generation having to study a play written approximately 400 years earlier. When teachers are questioned about the purpose of Shakespeare's work in today's education system they generally give explanations based upon two main beliefs; the first being that it 'teaches us how the English language has changed over the years' and the second that it 'allows us to appreciate some of the greatest pieces of literature to have ever been written'.
I would like to point out a few flaws in these two 'reasons'.
Firstly, the language in which Shakespeare's plays are written were believed to not be the way that people spoke during Elizabethan times.
Secondly, every generation has their own slang, and changes the English language to suit themselves, so if we want to learn about how English has changed, all we have to do is listen to our teachers or grandparents, and vice versa.
Thirdly, if we wanted to have an appreciation of ancient literature then we would join a drama, literature or history class where his plays might actually be at least somewhat relevant. Similarly, if we wanted to read a book in another language we would join a French, Croatian or German class.
Finally I would like to point out that maybe a more relevant English class topic might be to understand how to read and write professional e-mails, after all, technology is going play a more vital role in our futures than the words 'thou, thee, thy and hath'.
To conclude, its time the teachers and those in charge of writing the curriculum stop making us study Shakespeare for the simple fact of 'we had to study it and therefore you do to', stop giving us 'it's a great piece of literature' excuses, scrap it from the curriculum and replace it with something relevant to the twenty first century.