IELTS Writing Task 2 Topic: In countries where there is high unemployment
In countries where there is high unemployment, most pupils should be offered only primary education. There is no point in offering secondary education to those who will have no hope of finding a job. To what extent do you agree or disagree?
Unemployment is getting increasingly serious in many countries. Some people think people should be offered only primary education, while others think secondary education is necessary. To What extent do you agree or disagree? OR
Given high unemployment rate, it is recommended that the government only provide primary education and no secondary education. What do you think?
• Introduction : (1) refer to the task question (2) my opinion: this argument is too narrow -1 completely disagree
• Paragraph 2 : 1st reason for my opinion: the job market is unpredictable -example: technology replaces jobs but also creates new employment opportunities
• Paragraph 3 : 2nd reason: the real aim of education is to help people to think critically- this produces informed and responsible citizens
• Conclusion : the job market is volatile, and the real role of education cannot be neglected – to develop critical skills
It is true that in countries that suffer from high unemployment rates, it seems hardly worthwhile to offer education beyond primary level to most pupils. While I accept that this appears logical, I believe that this is a very narrow perspective, and I completely disagree with the statement.
Firstly, predicting upturns and downturns in the job market is extremely difficult. At one period there may be a demand for workers in many sectors of a country’s economy. Wages are high, and the education system needs to prepare large numbers of students up to and beyond secondary school level, with the skills to meet the needs of employers. For example, while technology is replacing many traditional jobs in such areas as agriculture, transport and heavy industry, it is also creating new jobs in other sectors. Thus, in economic terms, it is almost impossible to say how many highly-educated young people will be required for a nation’s workforce.
Secondly, I contend that the purpose of education is much more fundamental than simply to prepare young people for the world of work. Education is nothing less than the acquisition of lifelong skills in thinking critically about all aspects of life. At its best, secondary education plays an essential part of helping young people to develop these critical skills. If the citizens of a country are informed and enlightened, problems such as a welfare system or the distribution of wealth can be intelligently debated. Without mass education to this level, a country can have no responsible citizens.
In conclusion, although in today’s volatile global economy, any country’s employment situation is subject to rapid changes, the intangible but real objectives of education dictate that young people should be educated to at least secondary level.
- worthwhile [adjective]
Meaning: important and worth spending time, effort or money on doing
Example: The high price of dental treatment makes it worthwhile to look after your teeth by brushing them regularly.
- upturns and downturns [nouns]
Meaning: a situation in which things either improve or get worse over a period of time
Example: They have supported Real Madrid through all the upturns and downtumsjn the club’s fortunes.
- the job market [expression]
Meaning: the number of jobs that are available
Example: Why don’t you do a degree in engineering? I hear that the job market in this field is very good at the moment.
- to meet the needs of [expression]
Meaning: the things that somebody requires for a particular purpose
Example: The course is designed to meet the needs of students who have hearing difficulties.
- heavy industry [noun]
Meaning: the production of goods using heavy and powerful machines
Example: The UK no longer has heavy industries, such as shipbuilding or steelmaking.
- workforce [noun]
Meaning: the people who work for companies or organisations
Example: In Germany in 1932, almost 44% of the workforce were unemployed.
- the world of work [expression]
Meaning: employment in general
Example: She decided to leave school at the age of 16 and enter the world of work_to support her parents.
- to be nothing less than [expression]
Meaning: used to emphasise how great or extreme something is
Example: The decision to ignore global warming is nothing less than irresponsible and dangerous.
- acquisition [noun]
Meaning: the act of getting something, such as knowledge or skills
Example: She is studying the acquisition of language by young children as part of her course.
- critical skills [noun]
Meaning: the ability to make careful judgments about the good and bad qualities of something
Example: Students are encouraged to develop critical skills, not simply to accept the ideas of others.
- welfare system [noun]
Meaning: a system by which a government provides a range of free services to people who need them
Example: Sweden has a welfare system which includes care for the elderly, free medical services and financial support for the unemployed.
- the distribution of wealth [expression]
Meaning: the way that goods or money is shared among a particular group of people.
Example: In the USA, the distribution of wealth is resulting in a small section of the population owning most of the property.
- citizenship [noun]
Meaning: the state of being a citizen of a country and accepting the responsibilities of a citizen
Example: Schools should provide the type of education that prepares young people for the responsibilities of citizenship.
- volatile [adjective]
Meaning: unstable and likely to change suddenly
Example: The economic crisis caused a volatile political situation, with riots in the streets.
- to be subject to [expression]
Meaning: to be likely to experience something
Example: Japan is particularly subject to storms in the autumn.
- intangible [adjective]
Meaning: that exists, but is difficult to describe or measure
Explain: The forest had an intangible atmosphere of danger, perhaps because it was so dark.
Bonus essay topics
1. “Providing a national system in a country where the unemployed receive a regular payment only encourages people not to seek work and puts an unreasonable strain on a country’s financial resources.” Discuss this statement and give your opinion. Provide reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples you know.
2. In many countries today there are many highly qualified graduates without employment. What factors may have caused this situation and what, in your opinion, can/should be done about it?
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