Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Kids Have Gotten Wise

Today's papers carry an item that spells professional doom for my generation of academics in the humanities. Nevertheless, it fills me with a sense of grim satisfaction. (I've been carping about this before, repeatedly.)

Swedish kids have finally gotten wise to the career prospects offered by higher education in the humanities. Compared to last year, applications to higher education are down 9% generally – and down 21% in the humanities, 25% in language studies. Apparently, young people are finding other things to do, that is, actual jobs.

If this keeps up, it'll mean that when the Boomers retire from the universities, their teaching jobs won't be put up for application. Instead they will quietly disappear. Along with entire university departments.

Now, why do I smile sardonically as Rome burns? Because I don't live in Rome myself. I'm an academic freeholder on a distant hillside, watching the ivory towers I and my contemporaries have been unable to scale since getting our PhDs collapse into the ashes.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least we hope they find jobs instead.

09 May, 2006 15:18  
Anonymous Johan said...

25% in language studies

That worries me, though. Sure, I'm not the best person in the world to judge as I'm in love with languages and linguistics, but knowing languages might be a pretty damn good thing when doing real things out there in the real world.


10 May, 2006 05:06  
Blogger Martin said...

A university is probably not the best place to learn languages. I say learn them in primary school and high school for six years, then study their literature and finer points at university for one or two.

10 May, 2006 10:34  

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