Having now read this article, I have come to realise that *surprise, surprise*, the heading is totally there for inflammatory purposes. This wasn’t simply an article going through the motions of discussing cuts to humanities funding and a governmental prejudice against the arts and humanities in higher education, but a detailed piece with information gathered from a variety of academics discussing what the current impact upon humanities subjects in universities is in the lead-up to the coming election.
One of the most striking aspects of the article was the admission that universities are effectively being transformed into profit-creating institutions, with a focus on this over the education of students. One only has to look at the recent campaigns in London and across UK universities for Free Education to know how important this issue has become to many students and academics. A great deal of bile has been spewed up by both the media and students themselves as universities take greater authoritative steps towards clamping down on these protests, almost to an alarming extent.
Interestingly, the article did admit that academics of STEM subjects as well as humanities were concerned about the future of academia (thus effectively defying the title of the article). The abyss between the pay that chancellors, vice chancellors and high-end management are receiving in comparison to the academics that are effectively the reason why the university is able to make money is particularly under scrutiny in this article. This really showed that things need to change. The article suggested that we are effectively heading down into a totalitarian extremist state, in which academics are forced into creating courses with the highest profit potential with a lack of regard to student desires.
What I found missing from the article was an acknowledgement of the impact that the changing attitudes is having upon the mentality of students at higher education institutes themselves. There is an awareness now that by doing a STEM subject you will ultimately reach a greater earning potential, and sadly this does sway the decision of many young people. Moreover, the reminder that humanities students are in some way ‘inferior’, which I as well as many of my peers receive through a disparaging look when informing someone that I am a humanities student, does have a negative impact upon one’s mentality. Having paid an equal amount to our peers, and with an obvious love for our subject, it can be rather saddening to be viewed in this way, and make the choice to study a humanities subject receive a greater deal of scrutiny.
What are your experiences regarding this issue?