Letter: Barbarism against humanities courses

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The Independent Online
Sir: As a science graduate with a BSc (Hons) in chemistry and an MSc in chemical research, both from University College London, I read with great interest your article 'Record A-level pass rate will hurt arts students' (17 August).

I was awarded my first degree in summer 1991. Few of my companions from that year have noticed the 'shortages of science students' that seem to worry ministers.

About one-third of my class stayed within the education system seeking some further qualification, many because no work was available. A further third left the field of science altogether, either to convert to other disciplines (such as computing and finance), or simply to become unemployed.

Only a third of those people graduating with a degree in one of the sought-after science categories went on to find jobs in industry that used their hard-earned talents.

Of those who stayed in further education, half studied to complete an MSc degree, myself included. Of these, only two have managed to gain scientific work: both as laboratory technicians in positions advertised as being suitable for those with A-level qualifications. The same situation applies throughout the other scientific disciplines.

This country is not short of science graduates; it is short of the jobs such people need and the will to use those graduates in a way that will benefit the entire country.

Yours sincerely,



West Sussex

17 August