It is important to consider certain things related to the place of general science in the school curriculum. It has already been pointed out that young people who are in our schools are living in an environment which is constantly influenced by the products of science. The things they use, the media of entertainment, the books, magazines, and newspapers and so on are constantly bringing them in contact with things that are related to science.
In a situation such as this, there should be no question as to whether science can justify its place in the curriculum of the modern school. The following are some of the factors which convince us to include science in the school curriculum.
1. Provides unique training in observation and reasoning.
Science provides unique training in observation and reasoning. It makes individuals careful and systematic by training them in the coordination of their observation.
2. Unity between thought and action.
Science trains the learners to overcome personal reactions and prejudices. In this sense, science provides unity between thought and action. Thus, science has great intellectual value.
3. Utilitarian value.
The study of science is of great utilitarian value. In the words of Herbert Spencer, “The information which the study of science furnishes is incomparably more useful for our guidance in life than any other kind.” In the words of Ghansham Das : “We live in a world of scientific achievement : We converse and carry on business daily by telephone; the telegraph provides us with speedy means of communication; wireless apparatus is used daily in millions of homes : our houses, streets and shops are lighted by electricity and our machines, trains and trams are worked by electricity.
The cinema has provided cheap entertainment. The new triumphs and miracles in medical and surgical fields are helping to reduce the misery of suffering humanity. In short, science has brought us comforts which kings could not dream of a century ago.”
4. Cultural value. Science has a great cultural value.
A study of general science develops the potentialities of the pupils in accordance with the general good of the community of which he or she is a member. Science induces a sense of humility in the pace of the mysteries of nature.
It fosters cooperation among workers in the same field in different countries. Science, therefore, is an important element in a course in general education. “It is an important part of liberal education, of the equipment and preparation for life which the school is expected to give to its pupils so that they may become intelligent and useful members of the community.”
5. Vocational value.
Science has vocational value. It forms, directly or indirectly, the basis of many of the studies of a purely vocational nature. The study of science enables a pupil to choose medicine, agriculture or engineering as his vocation.
6. Training in leisure.
Science trains the child to use his leisure properly, both in his formative years and later in life. From this point of view science has saved man from devilish activities by providing a variety of interesting and useful hobbies.
7. Disciplinary value.
The disciplinary value of science cannot be disputed. Science teaches students to think and sharpen their minds. It makes them careful and systematic in life.
8. Moral value.
This is the competitive age. A country which has high morals gains a strong position in the world. A man of morality is the true and exact man. This truth and exactness is the outcome of science. Though truth seems bitter but eventually it triumphs. However, the moral integrity manifested in scientific work is due to the nature of the subject matter.
9. Training in the Scientific Method.
The scientific method has expanded into almost every area of human activity. It has been made the standard mode of application to all the social and physical problems. It consists of (i) making an accurate survey of the problem, (ii) setting up the method to attack the problem, (iii) collecting data, (iv) drawing conclusions from the exhaustive study done on the basis of the data collected.
10. Development of Scientific Attitude.
Science is taught in order to provide a training in, and knowledge of, what is called the scientific method and scientific attitude. This attitude will prove useful later on in estimating social problems.