Why the humanities remain highly relevant

Iain Pears – The humanities can't compete with the sciences for research funding. But they could help restore the status of teaching

The problem with the current proposals on university funding is that they are, in essence, fraudulent. Billed as measures to reduce debt, they in fact merely transfer it from the government to individuals. That redistribution will be gigantic – rising to at least £100bn over a 30-year cycle – but it is little more than an accounting wheeze. It will lessen the total debt burden the nation shoulders by scarcely a penny.

Second, the proposals supposedly introduce market disciplines, but this market has to be artificially created, and is then to be rigged before it even starts operating. In a completely free market, the humanities would clean up. Faced with a choice between an arts degree costing £8,000 a year, and one in science costing upwards of £30,000 a year, history and philosophy would suddenly become very popular for all except those determined to become scientists.


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November 29th, 2010

Staff Reporter EducationNews.org

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