HEPI report on the humanities

  • 23 Sep 2021 10:35
    Message # 11112577
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

     The Humanities in Modern Britain: Challenges and Opportunities (HEPI Report 141) by Dr Gabriel Roberts, which is being published today, finds. 

    • Humanities have experienced a long-term fall in relative size in UK universities: between 1961/62 and 2019/20, the proportion of UK students studying humanities subjects fell from around 28% to around 8%.
    • In recent years, the humanities have also seen an absolute fall in enrolments. The total number of humanities students at UK universities has fallen by around 40,000 over the last decade.
    • The declining popularity of the humanities extends to schools and colleges. Since 2016, almost all humanities subjects experienced a fall in A-Level entries larger than the decline in the 18-year old population.
    • The employment prospects of humanities graduates are less favourable than those of graduates in some other areas but the picture is mixed. Humanities graduates are just as likely as graduates in other areas to be employed, and when subjects are ordered according to the average salaries of graduates five years after graduation, humanities subjects fall in the middle of the range.
    • Humanities graduates have many of the skills that employers are expected to demand over the coming decade, but numerical and digital skills are areas of weakness.
    • Funding for the humanities has been mostly stable in recent years, but there are significant current challenges related to Brexit, COVID and the erosion of the unit of resource for teaching by inflation, meaning the future is uncertain.
    • Funding for humanities teaching varies widely in different parts of the UK. In Scotland, for instance, the unit of resource for Scottish students is around 40% lower than for English students in England.

    The new report argues finding solutions to these challenges means thinking about the relationship between schools and colleges, universities, and employers. The specific proposals include reforming A-Levels so that pupils continue a humanities subject and maths to the end of their schooling and embedding professionally valuable skills more fully in humanities degrees to boost enrolments and the employment prospects of humanities graduates. The paper recognises the strides that have been taken in recent years in the digital humanities and the growing popularity of interdisciplinary degrees, both of which show how humanities degrees can be reimagined.


    Last modified: 23 Sep 2021 10:35 | Anonymous member (Administrator)
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