‘It will always have value’: readers on whether English lit is worthwhile | Higher education

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News that Sheffield Hallam College is to scrap its standalone English literature diploma from subsequent 12 months triggered an outcry this week, after the federal government’s resolution to finish funding for levels the place lower than 40% of graduates discover “extremely expert” employment inside six months.

Right here, seven English literature graduates inform what they gained from the diploma, and share their views on the federal government’s plan to chop the funding of sure humanities programs deemed “low-value”.

‘I beloved learning English at Sheffield Hallam’

Nageena Rehman.
Nageena Rehman: ‘English stored my employment choices open’

“I beloved learning English literature at Sheffield Hallam College, the place I graduated in 2020. It was shocking and disappointing to listen to they had been closing the course. With the ability to examine the topic in my residence city was such a bonus: I saved cash, I felt snug on campus, and had the chance to check overseas for a 12 months, which modified my life.

“English stored my employment choices open. I’ve labored as a non-public tutor, a journalist, and am now a stagehand and technician at my native theatre. I gained an understanding of various views, and discovered the best way to articulate my ideas on paper and in individual – a key ability in all of my work. I related with my coursemates over our ardour for studying and writing and now we have gone on to work creatively collectively. My diploma has been a basic a part of progress in my vital pondering, integrity, intelligence and fervour for my work.” Nageena Rehman, 24, backstage theatre technician, York

‘The humanities can enact change, launch emotion and convey pleasure’

Saffron Rain
Saffron Rain: ‘I do customer support for an arts charity, which doesn’t rely as extremely expert work’

“I studied English at Sheffield College and did an MA in the identical topic. If anybody had been to quantify my college’s success charges based mostly on the present authorities opinion, I might be bringing the facet down. But it surely will depend on what you class as ‘expert work’. I used to handle bars, however now I do customer support for an arts charity, which doesn’t rely as extremely expert work, though it’s. I haven’t wasted my time at college.

“I didn’t undertake both course in an effort to get a selected job, however to complement my very own life, and hopefully the lives of others. I discovered the best way to analysis, establish dependable sources, type reasoned opinions, and intelligently have interaction with arguments I’ll not agree with. Finding out the humanities will all the time have worth. They will enact change, present solace, launch emotion and convey pleasure.” Saffron Rain, 28, customer support skilled, Stockport

‘The federal government’s stance smacks of us-and-them politics’

Jason Jawando
Jason Jawando: ‘I’m a extra rounded individual’

“I studied English literature as a mature scholar on the Open College, having beforehand had a troublesome expertise of education. My diploma gave me the flexibility to specific myself, to have interaction with tradition, and gave me confidence. Though my diploma isn’t immediately associated to my job, I’m a extra rounded individual with a greater understanding of my place on this planet.

“The federal government utterly overlooks the position of education for its personal sake; that it makes individuals higher residents. Employability is essential, however measuring crudely whether or not you’re in a high-earning job or not is the mistaken strategy. It smacks very a lot of ‘us and them’ politics. The message appears to be: if you happen to’re from a decrease socio-economic background, examine one thing helpful and we’ll preserve you in your home.” Jason Jawando, 50, analysis help administrator, Wolverhampton

‘Maybe this policy will make universities supply higher worth for cash’

Emily Young
Emily Younger: ‘I discovered nearly nothing’

“I graduated in 2018 with a £9,000-a-year English diploma from a London college. I had about six hours of ‘contact time’ per week that dropped to nothing in my closing 12 months in the course of the lecturers’ strikes. I acquired a first-class diploma however I can safely say I discovered nearly nothing. The content material was largely boring and summary with little probability to discover my very own literary pursuits.

“I really feel strongly that many humanities programs are money cows for universities’ costlier sensible programs, similar to engineering and chemistry. My diploma was not rather more than an overpriced piece of paper that I wanted to enter the job market.

“I feel the federal government’s policy [to cut funding for some humanities courses] is wise. I hope this forces universities to assume extra about high quality and employability.” Emily, 26, civil servant, London

‘My English research paved the way in which to a profitable profession as an entrepreneur’

Nick Payne.
Nick Payne: ‘I discovered a variety of helpful abilities’

“I studied English literature on the College of Sheffield, and graduated with a 2:1. I didn’t find yourself in a ‘extremely expert’ job inside six months, so in line with the federal government my research had been apparently a waste of time.

“I discovered a variety of helpful abilities, significantly in communication, analysis and evaluation, which performed a major half in my profession. I’ve co-founded and managed a few profitable companies within the technical publishing and occasions sector, offered one among them for a major sum alongside the way in which, and have boosted the UK’s import/export stability over time as roughly half of our convention delegates come from abroad – and spend cash regionally.” Nick Payne, 57, majority proprietor of a enterprise working technical conferences, St Albans

‘It exhibits that just about none of my software program engineering colleagues studied humanities’

James Cole, from Bath, believes humanities degrees equip people with skills other graduates lack.
James Cole: ‘English literature levels educate criticism … which fits the office nicely’

“English literature levels educate criticism, a type of evaluation that fits the office very nicely. What’s the fact in a given scenario, how does it tie into wider themes, and the way can I finest talk that? Deep studying abilities, psychological organisation, endurance. Finding out Stem [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] doesn’t develop these abilities in the identical means, and I ought to know as a result of I even have an MPhil in laptop science.

“Nearly none of my colleagues have humanities levels, and it exhibits. A humanities scholar learns a historical past of methods, approaches, and theories. They find out how these failed and why. Stem, in the meantime, encourages the view that the world is a system that may be understood and manipulated. And in a sensible means that is true – and really cool. However it could possibly additionally encourage conformity and stifle questioning and innovation.” James Cole, software program engineer, Tub

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