I'm a first-year student at a private university in America. One of my classes for my first semester is essentially our English General Education requirement - it's called "Rhetoric & Composition". However, the class completely surpassed my expectations of the depth of discussion that would be had - we are learning a lot about research, academic integrity, academic "conversations" and professional mediums like academic journals and papers.
In our first unit we wrote rhetorical summaries of a few articles, our second unit had us researching different areas of health in refugee camps - a specific research area. Now, in our third unit, we're really delving into research - focused on the subject of cosmopolitanism vs. patriotism.
Our professor started today with a presentation on research in general - showing us the process of discovery, how researchers commit their lives to just a few academic ideas and submit their new perspectives on the world for ruthless critique by their peers... It was a very eye-opening discussion on how the real world works, where our cultural and scientific ideas come from, and why I'm even here, at college.
My question is... why did it take me eighteen years to receive this discussion? Why did our education system wait until adulthood to tell me these things: how ideas are discovered, why people go to graduate school...
Frankly I think education on "academia" should be a big part of your primary schooling. Ask an elementary schooler what they want to be when they grow up, and you'll probably get an answer of "firefighter" or "astronaut" or "doctor". Ask any high-schooler and most won't be able to tell you, because they know those easy answers aren't what they want but they don't know how most other professions work: as many as 75% of college students enter undecided on a major or change their major at least once. If we educate students on how academia works, where new knowledge comes from, they can start developing a well-informed decision on their career - whether it be in research or applying knowledge to a profession.
Our present high school english classes largely educate us on classic and modern literature - both fictional and non-fiction narratives or other types of creative works. Why not provide a better balance with academic english? Showing youth how degree-professions really work could inspire more to pursue higher education as opposed to stopping after high school because "why should I continue learning this boring literature and math and history when I could just go get a job and pursue my hobbies?" (Which is not a bad way to lead a life - but if someone has academic potential, we shouldn't be discouraging them like this.)
My aim with this question is primarily to open discussion about it, but I still think it's suitable for the stack exchange format. An accepted answer would look like an actual discussion/debate/set of arguments from political bodies or researchers or really anything that's established, but I like the idea of opening the discussion because all insights are valuable.