“Students are preferring to study courses that have a clear job at the end”

Well hallelujah, thank God and good show!

Enrolments in the humanities are dropping, with university leaders worried important subjects will be lost because students are preferring to study courses that have a clear job at the end.

Ministry of Education figures show 146,535 people were enrolled in bachelor’s degrees last year, about 14,000 more than in 2003.

Most of the growth in that period was in subjects including science, commerce, and health and engineering.

Finally.  People who are having to pay for their education are actually taking it seriously.  It’s because they want value for money.  Who knew that getting things paid for aren’t valued?

And how many Art Historians have set the world on fire?

But the humanities missed out. Their enrolments grew until 2010, but then fell away. By last year, there were 52,265 bachelor’s degree students in subjects classified as “society and culture”, 3595 fewer than in 2003.

Society and culture enrolments provided 36 percent of bachelor of arts (BA) enrolments last year, down from 42 percent in 2003.

Universities New Zealand director Chris Whelan said more students were opting for courses with an obvious job at the end, and that posed a problem for the humanities.

“Arts always has a problem in that it’s not clear immediately who the employer is, even though arts graduates have exactly the same employment outcomes as engineers or doctors with about 98 percent employment rates.

Employment rates are misleading.   An Arts graduate working in fast food, retail or moving data in an office isn’t getting any tangible benefit from having attained a university degree.

Professor Windsor said across the humanities as a whole, enrolments had dropped six or seven percent since a peak in 2011, but this year they had increased thanks to enrolments by school-leavers.

She said this year’s increase was likely to be due to a number of factors including a greater understanding that the humanities provided valuable skills.

“People are realising that in the move to think about scientific, technical and professional fields, that you need a really good generalist strong broad base of education. That you really do need those analytical, critical thinking skills,” she said.

I’m not saying nobody needs an arts degree.  It would be dreadful to have Engineers taking care of the interior design, in general.  But in the end, if people want to have a job that can pay for a mortgage on a $600,000 home, they will be more careful at choosing where to spend their $30,000-$60,000 paying to get a degree.

 

– RNZ

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