Whilst all societies recognize the value of and implement systemic education of their population as children between the approximate ages of 5 and 15 for primary and secondary education, and into the early twenties for tertiary education, contemporary debate is in constant ferment as to what the format and content of a proper school curriculum should be. No one disputes that it is advantageous for both the individual and for society that people should enter into early adulthood literate, numerate and with a variety of social skills such as the early school environment enables, but beyond that there is infinite scope for disagreement as people debate education issues and argue as to the proper scope and manner of teaching in our schools.
The School Uniform Debate
Take for example the school debate as to whether it is appropriate to dictate the clothing which shall be worn by a child attending school, which some regard as dictatorial, but which others see as being merely ancillary to the proper imposition of identity, discipline and some level of regulation.
Pros and Cons of Prayer in School
Then there is the issue of the place of religion in schools, a current education controversy of some significance. Moves towards multiculturalism for many Western countries have proved to be an exercise in recognizing and accommodating the religious practices of immigrants, at the expense of denying their own. Religion is certainly a personal choice but there can be little education debate that religion is an integral part of any culture such that a general knowledge of the major religions is part of the work of providing a complete education.
Evolution vs Creationism in Schools
Similarly, some people observe a conflict as between religious belief in creationism and the teaching of evolution according to Darwin such that they are of the view that the theory of evolution should not be taught in schools. This type of school education issue is the equivalent of burning books, and is anathema to the true purpose of education, which indisputably is to inform rather than to indoctrinate.
The Homework Debate
Other school debate topics include the subject of homework, its value and purpose. Certainly, no child should be given so much academic work to complete after school that they are unable to participate fully in sporting or social events, but some private research with information as to sources of reference or practice of what has been taught during the day encourages independent inquiry and reinforces the content of the lessons of the day.
Sex Education Issues
Current education issues include the area of sexuality and what if any sex education should be given by schools, and to what extent gender bias exists in or is fostered by schools. Again, like religion, sex, gender and sexuality are part of social norms and culture. School debate and education needs to be able to address these issues for age ready children in the context of teaching them about a natural part of life, in much the same way as general life skills such as managing your money are now often included as part of a formal education.