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Loic Van Hoeserlande
Apr 7, 2024

Latin Sucks - or Maybe Not?

The debate about our education system has been ongoing for years. Some advocate for a more modern curriculum that better aligns with contemporary needs, while others defend the value of traditional subjects. Latin is one such subject that is often up for discussion. Is it an outdated exercise in memorizing texts, or does it still hold its value?

The Foundation of our Educational System
The fact that subjects like Latin, mathematics, geography, etc., have long been the backbone of our education system is for a reason, but perhaps we have lost sight of the original value of these subjects in some cases?

  • Latin, an excellent foundation for learning other Romance languages, sometimes seems reduced to a memorization exercise of ancient texts.
  • Languages, meant for communication and understanding cultures, are sometimes limited to rote memorization of vocabulary lists, which undermines real communicative skills.
  • Mathematics and sciences, intended to promote critical thinking, sometimes get bogged down in memorizing proofs, formulas, and properties, losing the deeper understanding.
  • History and geography, meant to help us understand how the world works, have sometimes become lost in memorizing trivia, such as maps, undermining their value.

Therefore, we are not advocating for removing these subjects from the curriculum but rather for educational institutions to refocus more on the utility of these core subjects.

The Need for Additional Subjects in a Changing World
At the same time, there is a lack of subjects in our current curriculum that better align with the demands of the modern world. Think of subjects such as:

  • Personal finance: To develop financial literacy and budgeting skills.
  • Entrepreneurship: To cultivate entrepreneurship and business skills.
  • Digital literacy: To understand and navigate the modern technological world.
  • Critical problem-solving thinking: To effectively address complex problems.

These subjects would better prepare students for life and its associated complex challenges in the 21st century.

A New Method of Assessment
Furthermore, alongside revisions of the subjects, the way students are assessed should be adapted. By focusing on the purpose of each subject, unique assessment methods can be developed. Languages should be assessed on conversational skills. Problem-solving thinking can be tested through an open group project.

It is crucial to recognize that most standard subjects are valuable, as long as we continue to focus on the underlying value and the development of essential soft skills. Perhaps it is time to refocus our attention on these crucial aspects and give students the opportunity to take new subjects that better align with the needs of the modern world.

To learn more about this topic, you can read the full article in De Standaard via this link: Read article

Photo by Fred Debrock for the original article in De Standaard.

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