Humanities at Risk in Britain

Post-1992 universities in Britain are more heavily affected by the government’s decision to withdraw the teaching grant from all but STEM subjects, and some fear the creation of vocational institutions for disadvantaged students, Inside Higher Ed reports. London Metropolitan University, which has the highest proportion of working-class students in the country, plans to eliminate history, philosophy, performing arts, and Caribbean studies. Cliff Snaith, branch secretary of the University and College Union at London Met criticized the plan as “deliver[ing] affordable degrees, which will be entirely vocational, to students who can’t afford anything else.” Many fear this plan will be replicated by other universities:

London Met’s approach could be echoed by others in the future if the government succeeds in its aim to introduce competition from further education and private colleges to drive down prices.

[Malcom Gillies, London Met vice-chancellor] said that the loss of performing arts “hurts me deeply as someone who has four degrees in performing arts.” But he said there were “limits” to the extent to which students paying higher fees could be expected to “cross-subsidize” courses with low demand. Gillies added that the heaviest course reductions were not in the humanities but in London Met’s business school.

Read more in Inside Higher Ed and Times Higher Education.

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