Debates: Education

26 Apr 2013

We all hate homework, but is it really important that we do it? Is doing homework good for us or is it simply a waste of time? This debate sets out the arguments on both sides.

Homework is an assignment that students are given to do at home. It might be a continuation of classwork or a...

23 Apr 2013

Home schooling is the education of children at home. The practice is legal in most countries but the extent to which it is practised varies. Within Europe, for example in the Netherlands parents have a duty to send their children to a school, and Germany forbade home schooling until recent...

19 Apr 2013

Reformers argue that the school calendar used in countries round the world is outdated and inefficient. The current system, which usually consists of two or three school terms punctuated by long holiday periods, stands accused of doing little to equip schoolchildren for later life, wasting time...

19 Mar 2013

The term curriculum refers to the programme of study in various academic subjects (e.g Maths, English, History, Science, Spanish) followed by students at various levels of education. The school or college's teaching staff are employed to teach this curriculum, and students are periodically...

26 Feb 2013

Corporal punishment is a physical punishment in which pain is deliberately inflicted on a perpetrator of a wrong in order to exact retribution and to deter similar behavior in future. An accepted form of discipline through the ages, it has been upheld by all the Abrahamic religions, and has been...

20 Feb 2013

The Internet is a network connecting computers across the world. It has its origins in military and academic projects dating back to the 1960s, but began to be more widely available from the end of the 1980s. The creation of the World Wide Web (1989) and web browsers (early 1990s) gave ordinary...

11 Feb 2013

Nearly all secondary school students (from age eleven) in EU countries are obliged to study at least one modern foreign language up to their final year. Many students study two. Some start learning foreign languages at primary level and, by school leaving age, no longer consider the languages...

7 Jan 2013

Hate speech is a controversial issue in all Western Liberal Democracies (WLDs). What makes hate speech on university campuses a unique topic is the combination of public space, the historical role of universities as centres of free speech and expression, and the age and impressionability of...

7 Dec 2012

A university of less-than-liberal arts?

Should Yale University refuse to operate in Singapore where human rights and free expression face significant restrictions? Katie Engelhart weighs the arguments for and against.

The case

In March 2011, Yale University...

8 Nov 2012

Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States located in the north-eastern Caribbean. The United States conquered Puerto Rico from the Spanish in 1898 when Puerto Rico became an unincorporated U.S. territory meaning it...

1 Oct 2012

According to the Bible, the Ten Commandments (or Decalogue) are a list of laws handed down from God to Moses, and as such they are highly revered in Christianity and Judaism. Different sects of Christianity and Judaism often use different texts for the Decalogue, and Islam's holy book, the...

1 Oct 2012

Corporal punishment is best defined as the use of physical pain, injury, discomfort or humiliation to penalise unruly or criminal behaviour. It has been widely applied in the context of criminal justice throughout human history. Where liberal democracies now overwhelmingly favour custodial...

1 Oct 2012

Since the advent of modern social science, sociologists and criminologists have been preoccupied with finding the answer to what is the root cause of criminal (or deviant) behaviour and, therefore, what are the best ways to prevent it. Many theories have been put forward on the subject. Some of...

1 Oct 2012

This debate refers specifically to the United States of America but many of the arguments would be applicable to other countries around the world.

In recent years, incidents such as the massacre at Columbine High School, where two students gunned down their classmates, has given rise to...

28 Sep 2012

The option to study past societies is present in most school systems, and is often compulsory at primary school and in the early years of secondary school. Debate about the teaching of History in schools is particularly prominent and heated in East Asia: China and South Korea object to modern...

18 Sep 2012

The United States declared independence in 1776 against what it saw as the overweening power of the British crown regarding taxes, regulations, and representation. Since that time, Americans have resisted anything that smacks of government enforced conformity. The United States at its founding...

14 Sep 2012

In the UK, Physical Education (PE) is compulsory in state schools until the age of 16 – that is, that sports are compulsory for as long as education is compulsory. Every year, more and more parents complain to their children’s schools about PE; they believe that their children...

14 Sep 2012

The length of full-time undergraduate degree courses varies from country to country, and may not be standard even within one education system. However, around the world four-year degrees are most common, with five years or more not unknown in countries such as Germany and Italy. England stands...

14 Sep 2012

In the age of apparent equality women are increasingly encouraged to ‘have it all’, balancing career, children and marriage in order to be seen as successful. Some feel this is bad for children who are then cared for by a child-minder, nursery, or member of the extended family....

14 Sep 2012

Universities are higher education (18yrs +) institutions, and in the UK they are traditionally publicly funded. Recently, the introduction (and subsequent increase) of tuition fees has prompted discussion about the possibility of privately funded universities, with Anthony Grayling's...

6 Sep 2012

Latin and Ancient Greek were once considered central to an academic education in many countries. Latin was the language of much academic discussion until the eighteenth century; it was used since it could be understood by all “educated” people. Latin remains the formal language of the Roman...

6 Sep 2012

One of the most contentious social issues in most countries is that of education. In education, people see a clear route to a better life for their children. Most people regard some level of education as a right; the degree of education to which we are entitled by right varies from country to...

31 Aug 2012

Social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter are breaking down barriers between teachers and students, redefining the way they communicate and interact with each other. Both current and former students ‘friend’ their teachers on such websites, which often contain a lot of information on...

6 Aug 2012

The universities of Oxford and Cambridge, sometimes known collectively as ‘Oxbridge,’ have for many centuries been seen as the pinnacle of higher education, both within Britain and across the globe. Yet for the eleven or so centuries they have been in existence, many claim, Oxford...

30 Jul 2012

The number of students going into higher education after finishing compulsory education has in recent years grown astronomically with many institutions accepting more students from poorer backgrounds than ever before. Such increases are generally welcomed, both by governments and by their...

19 Jul 2012

In 2000, the United Nations convened a Millennium Summit to address the world’s main development challenges.  The identified goals were adopted by 189 nations and set to be achieved by 2015.  Target goal #2 was “to achieve universal primary education.”  Since education is a...

18 Jul 2012

The role that undergraduate studies play in employment and education is becoming increasingly difficult to decipher – not only for individual students, but also for business owners and education administrators. The issue for students mostly relates to the cost of the degree and whether that is...

18 Jul 2012

It is interesting to note that the world’s best universities are also the most internationalized. Of course this is correlation and not causation but it does flag up some interesting issues. Part of the reason why Oxbridge and the Ivy League recruit so extensively overseas is, of course, because...

2 Jul 2012

The debate between "comprehensive sex education" (also just called "sex education") and "abstinence-only education" is long-standing in the United States, and exists in many other societies around the world that are split between more sexually progressive groups and...

12 Jun 2012

In most common law countries any common assault (that is deliberate or reckless physical contact without consent) is illegal. There are however a series of exceptions to that proposition where the public interest is deemed to justify allowing such assaults. For example, we allow people to cause...