GMAT : Analysis of An Issue

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An Issue


37. Since science and technology are becoming more and more essential to modern society, schools should devote more time to teaching science and technology and less time to teaching the arts and humanities.


Question


Discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the opinion stated above. Support your views with reasons and/or examples from your own experience, observations or reading.


Analysis


Because scientific knowledge is increasingly important in our technological world and in the practical world of jobs and careers, schools should devote sufficient time to teaching mathematics and science. This is not to say, however, that schools should devote less time to the arts or humanities. To the contrary, in a technological age the study of arts and humanities is probably more important than ever for three reasons.

First of all, studying the arts and humanities can help students become better mathematicians and scientists. For example, recent studies of cognitive development show that studying music at an early age can strengthen a child's later grasp of mathematics. And understanding philosophical concepts has helped scientists recognize their own presuppositions and frame their central questions more accurately.

Secondly, studying the creative and intellectual achievement of others helps inspire our own creativity and intellectual questioning. This is particularly important in an era dominated by technology where we run a serious risk of becoming automatons who fit neatly into the efficient functioning of some system.

Finally, technology is valuable as an efficient means to our important goals. But neither technology nor the science on which it is founded decides which goals are best or judges the moral value of the means we choose for their attainment. We need the liberal arts to help us select worthwhile ends and ethical means.

In conclusion, schools should not devote less time to the arts and humanities. These areas of study augment and enhance learning in mathematics and science as well as helping to preserve the richness of our entire human legacy while inspiring us to further it. Moreover, disciplines within the humanities provide methods and contexts for evaluating the morality of our technology and for determining its proper direction.

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