Times columnist and former History student Antonia Senior writes in support of scientists in today’s issue. She points out that for humanities students heading on to do accountancy, journalism or such things, degrees in anything are acceptable, not to show you have learnt the skills for the job per say, but to show you have the aptitude for study required. In contrast, degrees in science are a prerequisite for furthering your career in the field. Doctorates are our apprenticeships and so the study load is more extreme and better tested.
With tuition fees possibly heading upward, those students heading for any piece of paper could simply head elsewhere to get that paper or another route into the skill set required – college, unpaid work experience etc – but scientists will be discouraged from a vital step on the ladder of their career. In the high tech knowledge based society all three main parties at the last election were calling for, these are the sort of people we’re missing out on and the sort of people other countries are putting out in droves – including through our own university system, which already charges them full fees, meaning they won’t be discouraged while home students will be.
The answer, she suggests, would be to structure the fees system in such a way as to subsidise scientists through higher fees on the humanities.
The Times has begun erecting its paywall, so only registered users can click this link and get straight through to the article, but for a trial period a free registration for six weeks is available. You’ll know when mine is up as no more articles from the Times will be mentioned here.