More and more students are majoring in STEM than in the humanities because they believe they will have better employment prospects and higher earnings (“The world’s top economists just made the case for why we still need English majors,” The Washington Post, Oct. 19). Although that is true for their first job, some argue in the long run the picture is different.
Their case rests on the assumption that a liberal arts education builds soft skills like problem-solving, critical thinking and adaptability, which will be in ever- greater demand as technology evolves. In contrast, STEM majors, they say, lack such skills. Where’s the evidence that STEM majors don’t possess these essential skills? By the same token, where’s the evidence that only humanities’ majors possess them?
The other weakness in the argument for the humanities is that it takes on average two decades for the wage gap to close. How are graduates in the humanities supposed to support themselves in that period? Yes, there will always be exceptions to the rule, but I continue to believe that college students today are being far more realistic than we give them credit for.
(To post a comment, click on the title of this blog.)