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To think that the learning of economics should be compulsory in school for at least two years

(34 Posts)
Flashbangandgone Wed 29-Jun-16 13:48:18

My formal education consisted of absolutely no economics whatsoever... even though I have studied to post-grad level.

I always recognised there was a gap there, but the EU referendum reinforced that. When trying to grapple with this issues, I realized my understanding was woefully inadequate, even on the basics.

It seems a very many people are in my position... What's worse is that in many cases, many people's knowledge is so lacking that they have no awareness of little they know (and until recently I would count myself in this number). They are as confident of their "facts" as a 3 year-old is of Santa's existence.

Given the importance of economics to our prosperity and wellbeing, surely our education system needs to give us a better grounding in this area. How can we be expected to exercise our democratic rights responsibly without it? It's a bit like asking a four year old to choose his/her school based on a selection of Ofsted reports made available to them!

In my opinion, this ignorance was very likely a major contributing factor to the Brexit....

CruCru Wed 29-Jun-16 13:50:32

I agree. I would have really liked to have done Economics GCSE rather than Graphics.

moonface1978 Wed 29-Jun-16 13:54:19

Okay. But what are you going to take out of the curriculum to make space? PE, music, literacy, numeracy...

The reality is that the level of economics which could be taught at school level would be completely inadequate to provide people with the level understanding of economics necessary to understand the consequences of something like Brexit, in the same way that high school science doesn't put you in a position to comment on nuclear physics.

Somerville Wed 29-Jun-16 13:57:55

Economics is mostly bullshit, so no.

But teaching proper statistics and the understanding of risk would be awesome.

Scarydinosaurs Wed 29-Jun-16 13:58:02

Srudents can opt to do economics at GCSE and A level. It's incredibly complicated. I would say quite unsuitable for children aged under 16. There aren't many people equipped to teach it, and there isn't space on the timetable to deliver it, and if it wasn't done properly that that saying- "a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing" comes into play.


treaclesoda Wed 29-Jun-16 13:58:25

Weirdly when I was at school, economics was very much seen as a 'boys subject' , along with tech drawing hmm. No girls did it, and as a result no girls wanted to do it, because the thought of sitting through lonely classes as the only girl didn't appeal. I would have loved to do it, but wasn't brave enough.

I think it is a very important subject though, and I can see the reasoning for it being a compulsory part of the curriculum.

MargotsDevil Wed 29-Jun-16 14:06:04

In Scotland CfE includes a number of economic principles (basic supply and demand for example) but they are not covered in any great depth; this covers up to S3 only anyway.

Sadly senior school subjects are very "numbers" based and Economics not only appeals to a very small percentage of students (in most state schools) but it is also suitable for a relatively small percentage (as a result of the maths needed). As a result, schools can't justify the cost of running it.

Caboodle Wed 29-Jun-16 22:20:24

Economics teacher here (outs self grin ). Probably have a vested interest but the basic principles are not too complicated at all and a basic understanding of how the economy works is essential in my view (my eldest DC in primary school is fully aware of how VAT, mortgages, interest rates etc work).
A level courses require only GCSE level maths (and not the algebra parts either) are put off by the need to understand numbers and be able to write a good essay, not the maths element alone.

eurochick Wed 29-Jun-16 22:23:04

I did it at A level. And when I studied law in France, where it is a compulsory part of the degree. I agree that an understanding of basic economic principles is useful.

sorenofthejnaii Wed 29-Jun-16 22:23:35

Critical thinking
And another one - human psychology - how we think and how we think we think.
Media analyis and critical media analysis.

But then you might get an electorate who can see through what you are saying and 'they' don't want that....

Statelychangers Wed 29-Jun-16 22:33:21

I did a degree in Economics - to apply the theory to an economic crisis is incredibly complex, simple models are almost pointless - even doing a degree is only scratching the surface - so no I don't think economics should be taught. And I don't think the British public should have been given a referendum on such a complex issue.
I would say VAT, interest rates and especially mortgages are finance - they have a place in education without a doubt, along with critical thinking and politics - do the Scots not call this modern studies?

Statelychangers Wed 29-Jun-16 22:34:40

I agree Soren - Media analysis would be a useful lifeskill.

MrsCocoa Wed 29-Jun-16 22:34:50

Aren't even the 'basics' contested - as with the other social sciences? Perhaps best suited to Y12 onwards?

For anyone wanting to mug-up, can highly recommend Ha Joon Chang's little book:

Economics: The User's Guide (Pelican Books; 2014) ISBN 978-0718197032

Baconyum Wed 29-Jun-16 22:41:00

Martin Lewis is fighting a battle JUST to get kids taught basic financing - eg how interest rates work, bank accounts etc he is making some headway but in my opinion govt don't WANT the electorate to know as then they can claim they know 'what's best'.

cdtaylornats Wed 29-Jun-16 22:41:43

You would probably get a better result if you made it compulsory to listen to Radio 4 More or Less every week.

edwinbear Wed 29-Jun-16 22:43:20

I read Economics at uni without having studied it at school and work on a trading floor where many people have had no formal economics education. However, as a good understanding is so important to our work, all my colleagues are fully up to speed with the various economic releases, how they affect and feed into each other, the components that go into them etc. If you have an interest, I think it's one of the subjects where you can self teach the basics.

toffee1000 Wed 29-Jun-16 22:46:04

We did a critical thinking course for a term in year 12. Only a few went on to do the whole A Level. Most of us saw it as a waste of time tbh.

TapStepBallChange Wed 29-Jun-16 22:47:48

Another economics graduate here. It might be useful to teach some of the basics such as supply and demand, how taxation works, but overall I think statistics and personal finance are far more useful in future life. Economics becomes more and more subjective once you start looking at it at a macro level, so being able to understand the maths is more useful

It becomes political, is higher public spending a good or bad thing; is increasing income inequality a good or bad thing, especially if the overall wealth of the nation is increasing; is the free market a good thing? There is no right or wrong answer, which is why we have debate, politicians and economists with different views, and lots of books on it, most books are pretty dull, but the undercover economist call also be quite interesting for an introductory guide and some thought provoking bits

eyebrowsonfleek Wed 29-Jun-16 22:48:40

I remember learning about trade tarriffs and EU subsidies for farming and regional development in O level Geography. Don't they cover that any more?

arethereanyleftatall Wed 29-Jun-16 22:50:09

I'll hazard a guess that many of the 'remainers' also know fuck all about economics.

BabyGanoush Wed 29-Jun-16 22:50:43

Good lord, I was made to take economics A level in my country of birth.

There are lots of economic theories, but it is NOT a science. It is not maths either.

If the economy could be fixed to be good, someone would have figured out by now how to avoid all these crashes hmm

Stupid boring subject it was!

Caboodle Wed 29-Jun-16 22:54:39

I really believe I could teach bright year 7 kids the basics....basic econ problem / supply and demand / taxation / unemployment. Maths is hard...but we teach that in stages at age appropriate levels, adding more complexity as we go through the key stages.

sorenofthejnaii Wed 29-Jun-16 22:59:54

I'll hazard a guess that many of the 'remainers' also know fuck all about economics

I know enough to know that Government income is important and that trade is important to that income as it affects spending.

More or less is a great programme to cut through the spin of statistics (from all sides)

Lightbulbon Wed 29-Jun-16 23:04:39

I think it should fbe available in all schools.

It's just as important as history or geography.

AliceInHinterland Wed 29-Jun-16 23:10:56

Most microeconomics
Fundamental human biases (eg confirmation bias)
Possibly useful
Some macroeconomics

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