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Pupils concerned studying Shakespeare will not help with jobs, poll shows

A new survey suggests that many secondary school children do not see how studying the Bard’s work will help them when they leave school.

Many schoolchildren believe that studying Shakespeare will not help them get a job when they leave school, according to a poll (Yui Mok/PA)
Many schoolchildren believe that studying Shakespeare will not help them get a job when they leave school, according to a poll (Yui Mok/PA)

By Alison Kershaw, PA Education Correspondent

He may be the world’s greatest dramatist, but many young people are concerned that knowing the works of Shakespeare will not help them get a job.

A new survey suggests that more than two-fifths of youngsters do not see how studying the Bard will help them into the workplace.

Meanwhile, others believe that Shakespeare’s work would be easier to understand if the plays could be set in the modern day.

In total, 42% of the 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds questioned said they believe studying Shakespeare will not help them get a job when they leave school.

And 29% said they would understand his work better if the plays were set in the modern day.

Almost one in five (19%) said that digital technology, such as video and animation, would help them learn Shakespeare’s work better as they would be able to visualise the scenes.

The vast majority – 77% – of those polled said they find the Bard’s language challenging or difficult to understand.

The survey was commissioned by digital technology company Adobe and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to mark a new digital art series which reimagines Shakespeare’s best-loved and most studied scenes and characters.

According to an RSC estimate, around two million British schoolchildren study Shakespeare’s work each year.

Having access to arts and cultural learning improves empathy, critical and creative thinking in young people Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC

Jacqui O’Hanlon, RSC director of education, said: “We know from our extensive research that having access to arts and cultural learning improves empathy, critical and creative thinking in young people as well as developing their social and communication skills.

“All these qualities and attributes are essential for helping prepare young people to take their place in the world.

“We’re thrilled to be working together to inspire young creators to explore Shakespeare’s work in new ways, using digital tools to explore the thing that RSC actors and directors work on every day: how to bring Shakespeare’s best-loved texts to life for contemporary audiences of all ages.”

:: The Censuswide poll questioned 2,000 11 to 18-year-olds between September 6-10.

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