Whether it be family, friends, teachers or bosses – many argue that in today’s competitive job climate having a BA is not enough. And yes, while there may be an increasing amount of people who have a BA under their belt, I don’t think that is a reason for one to be deterred from studying what they so desire. After all, tertiary education was largely founded on the desire to learn for the sake of learning, not for the sake of employment.
Therefore, upon hearing that the University of Otago, in which I attend, was making severe cut backs to the Humanities Department, I was both angered and disappointed. The first set of cutbacks affects Anthropology, English, History, Linguistics and Music – with more on the horizon for Classics, Social Work and Philosophy.
Although my course hasn’t been impacted by these cutbacks I recently attended a protest in response to them and saw students, tutors and lecturers alike who have all been directly affected – with students receiving less frequent classes, and tutors and lecturers even being made redundant. The University claim that these cutbacks are a response to a declining number of students and yet they continue to spend millions into revamping the campus and comparatively trivial investments.
In saying that, they are largely responding to policy decisions made by the Government and subsequently, aren’t the only University to be enacting these changes.
For instance, under the current National Government, remaining education expenditure is invested into areas that are thought to later benefit the economy – with these areas including the supposedly more academic subjects such as Sciences and Commerce. I mean, what good could the Arts have on the economy? And who cares about the community well-being that subjects such as Social Work enable?
It’s also interesting to note that subjects within the Humanities Department are the ones that encourage critical thinking of certain ideas, institutions and other norms. It was thus put to us in my Communications lecture the other day that this mightn’t be coincidental – suggesting that one way to end this sort of critique is to silence those who perpetrate it. Whether or not this is reading too far into the matter, you decide.
Personally, I think that society has become too focused on profit and practicality and has somehow concluded that these are mutually exclusive from the skills offered from Humanities. Obviously as a BA student I’m bias, but I think that these skills are equally as valuable, if not more so, than those from other fields – not to mention incredibly interesting at the same time. So please, whether or not you’re impacted by these cutbacks, join the fight against them – whether it be signing a petition or attending protests, it makes a difference.
Author: Harry Reid
Hi – my name is Harry Reid. I’m eighteen years old, and I’m originally from Greytown in the Wairarapa – which is approximately an hour out of Wellington. I’m the youngest of three children, with a twenty-year old brother and a twenty-two-year old sister. After finishing Wellington High last year I’m now in my first year at the University of Otago, doing a double degree in Law and Arts, with my Arts Major either being Communications or Politics – and whichever one I decide against will become my Minor. Some of my interests outside of University include photography, socializing with friends and keeping up with current affairs– among other things. Over the coming weeks I’m going to share with you some of my experiences (both good and bad) in my weekly blog. Feel free to follow my Instagram @harrrryreid for a more personalized view of what I’m up to!