It is quite reasonable to demand value for money right? This post was inspired by another that I read which was describing why humanities students are silly to complain that they do not have as much contact hours during their degree as other subjects. Well, they have every right to complain I say.
However, perhaps they are phrasing their complaints wrong. It is the nature of humanities subjects that they require less teaching hours than others. When I went to my university open day, the professor admitted as much and it isn’t some great secret or controversy, it is merely how the subjects are. As there is more writing involved which requires personal effort, it has to be something students go away and do themselves. That is understandable.
Where Humanities students have a point though, is the cost of their degree. In the UK, every degree in nearly every University costs £9,000 a year. I understand that in countries like America it can be even more. Leaving aside the general absurd cost of education for a moment, I would like to focus on the differences between subjects which require less contact hours and those which do not.
Basic economics dictates that surely the cost of a degree should depend on how much it costs to supply it. Therefore, if subjects which have more contact hours and thus cost more due to the expense of staff’s wages, then they should be more expensive than those which do not. It is even claimed by some that a degree in medicine costs the university more than the current £9,000 a year whereas an English degree costs far less so this means students should see this difference in their tuition fees. This is what the UK government were hoping would happen when they raised the maximum threshold for tuition fees but of course, in the spirit of making the most money, universities shot the price of all their degrees right up to the limit.
Yes, changing the price of degrees according to how much it costs to supply it may have negative consequences such as people picking the cheapest degrees merely to gain one but I think it is more likely that it will have a positive effect as people are mostly passionate about what they would like to do in the future and so if it costs more or costs less, that would not be a strong determining factor in their decision about which degree to choose.
The positive impact it would have would be firstly that humanities students would stop complaining -well we are a loud bunch so there is no guarantee but it is likely-and that the system would take one small step to becoming a bit more fair.
Of course, to become totally fair, tuition fees should have remained at £3,000 a year or be completely demolished but I am not going to discuss that today.
A Worried Student