The CBI are arguing that students pay more to go to University, because we all know that they have deep pockets and are just holding out on us. And, we all know how making university an impossible option during a recession won’t at all push students out of universities and onto unemployment lists (where they will be entitled to benefits that they don’t receive as students). But more than this, they also want ‘universities [to] focus more on economically valuable subjects such as science, technology, engineering, maths and languages’. Because we all know how humanities are a waste of time, right?
Now, I think humanities are important as they bring social benefits, creating a broader, well-rounded society with an able to think latterly, all of which has an impact of the economy. But in fact, humanities also provide graduates to some of our biggest industries. The book, journal and electronic publishing industry contributes over £5 billion a year to the domestic economy and this is increasing. The value of UK book exports is higher than any other creative industry and we export more books that any other publishing industry in the world. The export value of books to the UK economy in 2008 was £1.1 billion. And, where do you think the people- the writers, editors, reviewers and publishers- who work in this industry come from? Do they just spring, un-nurtured from the ground; is creative writing now a central aspect of the biology degree? No, they come from the humanities.
Our biggest manufacturers include Ben Sherman, Burberry, French Connection, Reebok and Umbro, all clothing companies. And who do you think sits around designing your latest togs, deciding what’s hip and what’s not? Physicists? What about when you need a website designed, a logo made, a brand created, an advertising campaign made- do you think these companies are run exclusively by scientists? What about tourism? Tourism brings £86 billion to the UK economy and a considerable part of that industry is driven by our heritage industry- that is people coming to see our history, our art and performing art, our family history records, our museums, and galleries. And who do you think makes this possible? Biologists and chemists? No, the numerous graduates who come from history, arts and other humanities and who paint pictures, put on shows, and go into museum planning, archives and preservation.
Plus 70% of graduate jobs are open to people from ANY discipline, so why are we pushing the sciences?