Mon 12 Dec 2005
The University of Århus (Denmark) just announced their decision to decrease the number arts students (i.e. humanist studies such as classic languages, history, philosophy and archeology). Part of the reason being that such candidates suffer high percentages of unemployment (and have to suffer humiliation due to abundance and general low market value). But universities have kept filling arts faculties as they are paid by the number of candidates they deliver (another unfortunate example of indiscriminate application of market economics). I have personally and in public complained about the sad situation. I sincerely think that ecreasing the number of students allowed through higher admittance average and preferably interviews to check for motivation are the only decent things to do. To many talented young people are wasted with humanistic studies because it has become taboo to guide in relation to choice of future profession (there IS a life after university where for instance a job would be nice to have). It is no doubt ‘nicer’ to study human affairs when you are young and self-sufficient – I choose to study philosophy (Christ!) for that very reason. But we simply cannot utilize the number of humanist students educated at present in DK even if markets are driven by ‘added value’, user driven innovation and other buzz. Besides, for many of arts candidates (yours truly included) there is some level of existential crisis involved in realizing that your education are very close to obsolete for the wellbeing of the society you live in and – hence – that you don’t contribute to this society. Arts candidates are simply left to all their ‘natural’ talents and personal interests when searching for a job. That just got to be the worst kind of education management. Yes, you’ll hear all sorts of eloquent (they have plenty of time to learn this) candidates arguing for their extensive merits, but basic facts of our society speak against their self-esteem. It’s actually rather sad. So, congratulation AU, you’ve don the right thing. Now just need to raise the admittance level to create a truly elite education for the few talented ‘humanists’ we truly need for research, journalism, art museums, and publishers. On the other hand, things might not be that simple; I was admitted with crappy high school grades but completed philosophy studies with A-A+ and added a PhD to become the incarnation of visionary Danish entrepreneurial business of the innovation age.