IT SEEMS most people agree that soft skills are important ("Non-core subjects are not 'frills' " by Mrs Charis Mun; last Saturday).

Perhaps the debate should be on whether non-core subjects could be offered to all students, and not just undergraduates.

Our education system emphasises efficiency - it aims to produce workers for the economy. So we start to narrow the scope of learning for children as young as 14 years old, when they choose subjects for their O levels.

Certain subjects are not offered in schools because of a lack of resources or, as I have been told by some teachers,

they are deemed too difficult to pass.

For example, some schools do not offer design and technology classes, which hone students' interest in mechanical or engineering studies. Others do away with literature, which is considered harder to obtain good grades in.

The scope gets even narrower in junior colleges and polytechnics.

Many students choose fields of study at age 16 that they later regret and give up on. This is a waste of resources and leaves those affected unsure of what to do next.

Perhaps the basic school curriculum can do more to broaden students' minds and their range of life skills.