Aug 28 2008

Welker’s daily links 08/27/2008

Published by at 12:30 am under Daily Links

  • “There are three times as many pupils taking psychology A-level as economics and almost twice as many taking A-level media studies. Sport and physical exercise and the expressive arts are now bigger subjects at A-level than economics.”

    What’s happening to my favorite subject area in the UK? It appears that economics education and the number of teachers going into economics is on the decline.

    Why? It’s not exactly clear, but the simple answer seems to be, “It’s difficult, so students are chosing not to study it”. That’s unfortunate, especially in an age when economics lies at the root of so many of our world’s social political and environmental issues.

    tags: economics, education


About the author:  Jason Welker teaches International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement Economics at Zurich International School in Switzerland. In addition to publishing various online resources for economics students and teachers, Jason developed the online version of the Economics course for the IB and is has authored two Economics textbooks: Pearson Baccalaureate’s Economics for the IB Diploma and REA’s AP Macroeconomics Crash Course. Jason is a native of the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and is a passionate adventurer, who considers himself a skier / mountain biker who teaches Economics in his free time. He and his wife keep a ski chalet in the mountains of Northern Idaho, which now that they live in the Swiss Alps gets far too little use. Read more posts by this author

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “Welker’s daily links 08/27/2008”

  1. Joelon 31 Aug 2008 at 10:31 pm

    I don't know how much you already know about the A-level, but it's currently the biggest government educational issue in Britain at the moment.

    The problem is that year on year students are getting better and better scores on their subjects. Now there are two explanations which have been forwarded for this. One is that students are simply getting better, and the other is that the tests are getting easier.

    Whatever the explanation may be, the fact is that this qualification is fast becoming discredited, so much so that they have introduced a new top score; the A*.

    I can already think of a few economic implications for this development. A lowering of the educational standard would surely affect Britain's economic competitiveness on the world stage. One way this could happen, for example, is through a decline of students taking economics. Having fewer economics-savvy people would mean that there would be less advice available for businesses, and therefore they could potentially lose out in the world economy.

    As the educational standard is lowered, Britain's economy, which is slowly undergoing a structural change from an industrial to a services based one, could suffer severely from a brain drain, as there are simply too few people educated at a competitive standard.

    In short: no brain, no gain.

  2. Simon Strongon 16 Sep 2008 at 8:25 pm

    It's a shame that economics at A level is on the decline. However there are reasons, one of which I found out looking on UCAS for University courses. Those students who may want to study Economics at University do not necessarily need it to take the course and so many think that they can take other courses, to perhaps keep courses options open incase of a change of mind. In this way Economics would naturally curve down in the amount of people studying it because there is no need to take it and taking other courses would seem beneficial.

  3. Jonathan Burkitton 17 Sep 2008 at 1:54 am

    There is a lack of teachers in the UK anyway, but you could say that people are to lazy to take it if they dont need to take it for the university they want to join. They would rather take an easy A-level than a hard 1. I think the schools need to put pressure on people to want to study the subject, boosting the demand and more teachers will start to appear

  4. Martin Ruefenachton 17 Sep 2008 at 5:21 pm

    I disagree I do not feel that economics is a very difficult subject. I think that students choose different subjects, because of different reasons such as media influencing what is popular.

    I think the reason for teachers missing to teach economics is partially, because of the lack of demand, but also a general shortage of as Jonny said because for public schools teaching might not be an attractive job opportunity.