This week showed that Sweden is not the only country that needs petitions in order to save archaeology. Over the North Sea in England, the AQA exam board is culling its archaeology, classical studies and history of art A-levels. This is apparently not about money or concentrating on the hard core EBACC subjects. No, this is providing every student the best exam results they deserve. What the students deserve just do not happen to include the disciplines that tell about the development of the humans or their culture.The reason given for the cull is that these disciplines telling the human story are complex and difficult to mark evenly. So, these disciplines that apparently belong to Gove's so-called soft subjects are so hard that they cannot be offered to the students, since it is apparently difficult to find talented markers. It is quite alarming that the cull may take away subjects that make students, teachers and markers to think, evaluate and argue. These one would imagine are skills that would benefit any students later in their life. In addition, archaeology is not just about humanities but has a lot of both practical and science content. It is something that can give something to any learner, no matter what their strengths are. That should help students to get the best exam results they deserve!
Luckily, all members of professional communities covering archaeology, classical studies and history of art have been vocal about the added value their discipline brings to the A-levels. Archaeology got Tony Robinson to tell about its significance. He called the plans to drop archaeology A-level "an assault to Britain's heritage". The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIFA) came out fighting and one can sign a petition online. The plans of scrapping have been described as "barbaric acts" target="blank" and it is true that in the long run these kinds of acts may lead us to barbary of a kind, if society does not educate rounded and skillful individuals. One just have to hope that the real reason for the scrappings is not money. These are minority subjects that take money to provide and mark their 'hard' exams. If only the money talk, it is one sort of barbarism when it hits the education system.
The petition against dropping the archaeology A-level has currently over 11,500 signiture. Maybe you can add yours?