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Ayn Rand Included on A-Level Curriculum in UK

“The 2017 curriculum for A-Level Politics, which is taught in secondary and pre-university schools in the United Kingdom, will include Ayn Rand and her ideas,” reports a press release from the Ayn Rand Institute:

A-level specifications require students to know and understand the core ideas and principles of liberalism, socialism, conservatism and other political ideologies. Rand will be incorporated into the conservatism segment of the curriculum alongside other intellectual giants.

The secondary and pre-university curriculum is for students aged sixteen to eighteen—an ideal age range for students’ first encounter with Rand’s ideas. And the context in which the schools will present her ideas appears to be quite favorable as well.

According to the UK Department for Education’s guidelines, Rand’s ideas are to be studied in conjunction with those of several important and highly influential thinkers. “A-level specifications must require students to know and understand”:

Liberalism

  • the core ideas and principles of liberalism, particularly as they affect liberal views on human nature, the state, society and the economy
  • differing views and tensions within liberalism, notably between classical liberalism and modern liberalism
  • the ideas of the following thinkers on liberalism: John Locke, Mary Wollstonecraft, John Stuart Mill, John Rawls and Betty Friedan

Conservatism

  • the core ideas and principles of conservatism, particularly as they affect conservative views on human nature, the state, society and the economy
  • differing views and tensions within conservatism, particularly related to divisions between traditional conservatism and the New Right
  • the ideas of the following thinkers on conservatism: Thomas Hobbes, Edmund Burke, Ayn Rand, Michael Oakeshott and Robert Nozick

Socialism

  • the core ideas and principles of socialism, particularly as they affect socialist views on human nature, the state, society and the economy
  • differing views and tensions within socialism, in particular differences between revolutionary socialism and social democracy
  • the ideas of the following thinkers on socialism: Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Beatrice Webb, Rosa Luxemburg, Anthony Crosland and Anthony Giddens

Despite various misclassifications (e.g., Rand under conservatism, Rawls under liberalism), this is a good set of thinkers with which to contrast Rand. If the schools present both her and their ideas accurately, Rand will shine, and active-minded UK students will be beautifully enlightened in the process.

Although government has no legitimate business running schools, insofar as it does run schools, it should include Rand’s works in the curricula. Kudos to the United Kingdom for taking this big step forward.

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