Should high schools drop Shakespeare?

Should high schools drop Shakespeare?

Alberta Education says there is a "strong desire" to have Shakespeare stripped from the high school curriculum.

The push comes from an undisclosed number of parents, students and teachers in a recent curriculum survey, which gathered responses from 25,000 people.

- What do you think? Should the bard be banished? Put your thoughts in the comments section below.

So should Shakespeare be dropped as a required author? The Calgary Eyeopener asked this week's Unconventional Panel to weigh in.

"Absolutely not," says George Brookman, CEO of West Canadian Industries.

"We're taking out the arts at a time when we need the arts," he said. "We need Shakespeare more than ever. We need English more than ever."

To make his point, Brookman compared the speeches of U.S. President Donald Trump to former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill. "Did that come from Shakespeare, no? But the ability to communicate in wonderful language is so critical to our society, I think."

Anila Lee Yuen, CEO of the Centre for Newcomers, says even though she enjoyed learning about Shakespeare in high school, she's indifferent and suspects most of the survey respondents were too.

"I think the bigger issue for me is if we got rid of literary pieces altogether," she said. "If we were only focusing on 140 characters, I think we'd have an issue."

Studying one play in high school is enough, she said.

There's a large population in Canada who don't speak English as a first language or do not have ancestors from England, she says.

"It's not part of our historical identity, right? In the world of globalization I think it's really important that we have literary pieces that come from all over the world. That will give our youth an advantage of being able to understand different points of view."

Blogger Mike Morrison, a former teacher who took to the stage in university, said a dose of creativity can bring fresh life to Shakespeare.

"I don't want it out of schools, but if teachers can find five minutes in their insanely crazy, busy schedule to look at it with fresh eyes, then I think that's a benefit," he said.

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With files from the Calgary Eyeopener