Numerous Ontario articles and op-eds have been written about the “decline of the arts” and the “liberal arts degree” in universities. There is an increasing belief among students that ultimately the arts offer less bang for your buck, and that in a struggling job market a business or science degree is better insurance for landing a career in the higher income brackets. As a result, less and less students are choosing liberal arts electives in their remaining years of public high school, resulting in dwindling enrolment in the humanities at universities (as you can see from the below graph).
And yet, Ontario has recently committed to seriously promoting the role of the arts in public schools. Parents need only commence upon a few internet searches to discover a multitude of research that cites how the humanities and arts: develop critical and creative thinking skills that support student success, improve communication and presentation skills, and general problem solving abilities. All of which are applicable in at least some capacity in any workplace, even if they do not point directly to a specific job. Parents and students alike worry about employability, but to quote the HESA: “what is the ability to critically appraise arguments, appreciate complex chains of causation, and institute clear and effective writing if not employability skills”?
However, private schools, especially registered IB schools, do not rely on the province for assistance in promoting the arts because they are committed to encouraging the “well-rounded student”. Private schools do not favour one program over another, and prepare students for success in all disciplines so that they have a vast repertoire of skills to carry them forward. Private schools know that university admissions committees are seeking the ideal “well-rounded student” who exhibits a variety of academic skills.
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