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The University of Rhode Island (URI) comments that “the humanities help us decide what is important and what we can do to make our own life and the lives of others better”. Although the world may strive for more practical based skills, humanities are a vital part of past, present, and future societies, and this essay will present an argument in favour of humanities-based subjects being imperative to the education of young people. Firstly, this essay will suggest the ways in which practical experience may be considered relevant to contemporary society, including evidence that will support why having practical skills is significant in many different types of careers. This will then be criticised by arguing that humanities are significant in more than just one particular career, and it helps individuals gain more understanding of different cultures, and will allow them to view their world in different ways, and will then go on to consider the impact of technology on humanities.
Ulm et al conducted a study in Australia, called ‘The Archaeology Case Study’ discussing that there has been a decrease in graduates’ knowledge in practical areas, such as engineering. They found that 99.5% agreed that students studying undergraduate degrees should participate in ‘practical field-based activities, to gain them understanding and experience in what it takes to learn physically as well as mentally. One conclusion that can be drawn from this is that the high percentage of Australian participants suggests that individuals in this particular culture, do believe that practical skills are significant, more specifically, graduates, consequently, there needs to be a practical-academic balance. Moreover, URI describes that humanities “help us address the challenges we face together as families, communities and nations”, which argues that humanities help to create a better community. Having knowledge of humanities may help to give communities a better understanding of different languages, histories and cultures, and keep society informed about what is happening in our world, which evidence suggests that humanities should be supported in education, as they can lead to more knowledge about the real world, rather than universities sole focus being on enforcing and encouraging teaching practical skills. Furthermore, Yang states that “discussions regarding the socioeconomic as well as philosophical implications of literature will expose younger generations to new ways of thinking about their world”, which further supports this argument as it proposes that younger generations should have the opportunity to learn new ways of thinking in their community, this meaning that humanities open up a door for individuals to explore what it means to have diversity and differences in society. Therefore, this presents how although there is now a common interest across education to learn about archaeology and ‘hands-on’ skills, humanities give people the opportunity to learn more about cultures and gain insight as to what is happening globally, in modern-day.
Secondly, Bonaccorsi, et al. found that “universities specialized in applied sciences and engineering have a broadly positive effect on new firm creation in a given province, this effect being especially strong in service industries”, claiming that studying an undergraduate degree in engineering and sciences, may aid individuals’ chances on becoming successful in businesses that include distribution services and environmental services, as well as health-related and social services. This subsequently explores the necessity for all universities to have focal points on giving their students an education in practical subjects, such as applied sciences and engineering – as Bonaccorsi et al. suggest is the most significant. However, this can be criticised as it fails to acknowledge that there are other industries that require more than exclusively having a practical skills background, for example, teachers, assistants, and receptionists. This can be supported through Moya who discusses why we should study literature, she argues that “some works of literature allow a reader to perceive (or a literary critic to analyse) the way race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality actually matter—both in the sense of being important and meaningful”, demonstrating that we should take into account what it means to appropriately recognise diversity in the workplace. Partaking in a humanities-based education would be relevant to the job market, as it is specifically important when applying for job interviews, that there is a full understanding of having basic respect for others. This, therefore, disapproves with the argument against humanities being critiqued for having a lack of applicable skills in the workplace, as having awareness surrounding basic rules of conduct in the job market, stems from having a fundamental humanitarian context.
Thirdly, another example as to why practical skills may be considered applicable for a world that is considered to be ‘practical’ based, would be as there is now a rise in having the ability to take control of ‘physical networks’, as Bonaccorsi et al., argue that “university knowledge is important also in the PNS industry category where the ability to design and manage large-scale physical networks is a source of competitive advantage”. This statement presents how having developed skills in a specific area, gives individuals who have these abilities, an advantage when it comes to careers, as they are supposedly more competitive in industries, giving some individuals a larger opportunity if they specialise in these areas. However, considering this, it can be considered that there are more than just practical skills that may seemingly give participants for certain careers a boost, as technology is now a largely significant area of most careers across the world. Miyoshi explains that “technology continues to attract the attention of the public and the media, and the humanities appear like contentions groups of eccentrics, each speaking in exclusive and inaccessible codes, which sound like gibberish to the outsiders”. This labels the magnitude in which technology is a speciality to most industries and companies. Humanities include the arts, this meaning that being conscious of culture and history alone, is strong, but having a speciality in technology, such as social media, and having the ability to operate technological devices, such as laptops, phones and cameras, is considered to be exceptionally momentous in the twenty-first century.
In conclusion, this essay, therefore, summarises the points made about how having a practical-based education at university, or not, can be considered useful in modern-day society, in particular for industries that are led using practical skills. Nevertheless, in current society, across the world, most industries use humanities in some way, whether this is through having knowledge about cultures, history, or knowing how to work a computer, evidently finalising that having a humanities-based education is relevant to our current world.
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