Australia Needs More Humanities & Social Science Graduates

The History Council of Victoria was shocked to learn that the Morrison government proposes to more than double the cost of a university education for students in History. What is the justification for reducing the Commonwealth Government’s contribution to only $1,100 per student place? Or for the requirement that History students will now pay an annual fee of $14,500?

‘This decision does a disservice to the values embedded in our civic culture and to the requirements of business enterprise and innovation’, says Emeritus Professor Peter McPhee AM, President of the History Council of Victoria, in an article about the importance of a Humanities education.

The proposal displays a complete lack of understanding of the vital importance of History and other disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS). These areas have produced outstanding graduates for many years – including many of Australia’s political leaders.

‘The Minister would do better to encourage students to embrace their academic interests – whatever they are – with verve and enthusiasm’ says Professor McPhee.

Evidence shows that HASS skills — critical and creative thinking, ethics, research skills, ability to construct a logical and coherent argument, as well as skills in written and oral communication — are foundational skills that are highly valued by employers. Evidence also shows that many successful Australian companies rely on ‘skills mixing’, bringing together HASS skills with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

We note too that this proposal severely disadvantages women. There is clear data showing that women make up a high proportion of students studying HASS subjects.

Our campaign is aligned with the work of the other three History Councils in Australia: HC New South Wales, HC South Australia and HC Western Australia. They have endorsed our work while also leading activities in their own states.

This country needs more Humanities and Social Science graduates not less.

The History Council of Victoria urges the Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, to rethink this punitive funding model.

We have sent our request to the Minister. We have also contacted the Shadow Minister for Education and Training (the Hon. Tanya Plibersek MP) and the five cross-benchers in the Senate.

We encourage you to call on the Australian Government to rethink its proposal for funding of the study of history in universities:

Centre Alliance
Senator Stirling Griff
Senator Rex Patrick 

Jacqui Lambie Network
Senator Jacqui Lambie 

Pauline Hanson One Nation
Senator Pauline Hanson
Senator Malcolm Roberts 

With your correspondence, you may like to include references to:

Peter McPhee’s article, A Humanities education: what’s the point?

The History Councils’ statement on The Value of History.