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Business group urges cut in study aid for the arts

TT/The Local/pvs · 30 Jun 2011, 08:42

Published: 30 Jun 2011 08:42 GMT+02:00

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The Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (Svenskt Näringsliv) on Wednesday presented a report calling for student grants to be cut for students pursuing what they describe as "low productivity educations", argued that they should instead be obliged to finance more of their studies with loans.

"It has been shown that it is more difficult to find a job if you read subjects within the arts or humanities," said Malin Sahlén who compiled the report for the Confederation to Sveriges Radio's Ekot news programme on Thursday.

Sahlén suggests that an adjustment of student grants would encourage students to make a choice which is more likely to lead to employment.

She added that the Confederation would like to see sectors such as theatre pay more but argues that there are too many students and not enough jobs.

"But we don't need twice as many studying a subject in comparison with the number in demand," she said.

The Swedish Union for Theatre, Artists and Media (Teaterförbundet), reacted in dismay to the suggestion.

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"Terrifying," argued chairperson Anna Carlson.

"It would be very strange if the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise is under the impression that these kinds of professions are not needed in a modern humanistic democratic society," she told SR.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:47 June 30, 2011 by wabasha
what did the engineering graduate say to the theater graduate?

answer: "could I have fries with that?"
10:58 June 30, 2011 by jan.petras
This is retarded. A world without art... well... You wouldn't want to live in such a world.

Even engineering needs creative minds, inspiration and art. Art is important for the soul, a human being is not that simple - just learn engineering and go create. No sir, you need a bit of everything.
11:06 June 30, 2011 by jl23
Terrifying is right. This is some of the most ignorant thinking I have heard. Where would society be without the arts? Someone should send this Malin some theater tickets and get her head out of a spreadsheet.
11:29 June 30, 2011 by here for the summer
The headline is reactionary. The article says they will cut the amount of money given for degrees that have low demand and less chance of getting a job. Not that they will lower the number of degrees or cut back in study for the art just that they ( the government and taxpayers ) will shift their investment in education towards degrees where their is higher demand and unmet need. Most of the west is facing a shortage of technically skilled labor.
11:54 June 30, 2011 by Luke R D
How could Swedish society possibly have let this pass for so long? The Arts?! Don't you know there are traces of "humanity" in the Arts?! This simply doesn't work, it just doesn't fit in with Swedish Socialist thinking! I'm very pleased to see them finding every last trace of humanity and sucking it out of society before people begin feeling...*gulp* FEELINGS!!!
12:16 June 30, 2011 by jow
what did the engineering graduate say to the theater graduate?

answer: Im a hater!
12:41 June 30, 2011 by lordsandwich
@jan.petras, @jl23

The article doesn't say anything about getting rid of the arts. It just talks about the fact that there are just too many arts graduates relative to engineering /science. Indeed it actually says ""But we don't need twice as many studying a subject in comparison with the number in demand," . So basically it's saying that we shouldn't have too many art graduates (relative to demand) or too little engineering graduates either. Nor does it say anything about creativity.
12:52 June 30, 2011 by WikidEva
This is a good example of lack in education! Malin Sahlén and Svenskt Näringsliv urgently needs a crash course in history, sociology and anthropology! What a bunch of daft morons!
13:05 June 30, 2011 by blursd
I get so sick of hearing this same idiotic argument ... "Humanity subjects are useless." Because what the world REALLY needs for everyone to be an engineer, scientist, or mathematician ... yes, that's the ONLY place "useful" things come from.
13:24 June 30, 2011 by jow
What the article is saying: The government shouldn't support students in the fields of Arts or Fine Arts.
14:15 June 30, 2011 by jamesblish
Hahaha, Svenskt Näringsliv, aka the moderate party propaganda machine. But regardless of their politics, business groups have no business meddling in the academic world. Academia and business are two separate things. Sometimes business people get confused and think universities are factories for production of suitable workers when in fact they're not. Not at all. Collaboration between the academic and corporate sector is one thing, but academics, if you know your history, is about expanding one's mind and intellect and becoming a greater person, not about "getting a job". It pays to read a book once in awhile. So to speak.
14:17 June 30, 2011 by el dorado
Was Malin Sahlén born without a soul, or did she lose it somewhere along the way?
18:36 June 30, 2011 by conboy
Now I wonder no longer why a recent poll showed that a significant majority of Swedish youth have nothing against Sweden being run as a dictatorship - no doubt good for business!
00:11 July 1, 2011 by threadbare
This is one of the most counter productive suggestions I have ever heard from a country I have loved and respected for many decades. Having had the opportunity to work with and share friendship with dozens of graduate students mostly in technology associated fields, be assured that a liberal dose of the arts and humanities is what distinguisihes the most successful, the leaders.
05:24 July 1, 2011 by Savoy
The art's okay, it's the nut case artists that run it off the rails. When a friend of mine see's something that just doesn't make sense, he coments, ...must be art.
17:14 July 1, 2011 by cogito
@James #11 who writes:

"...academics, if you know your history, is about expanding one's mind and intellect and becoming a greater person.... It pays to read a book once in awhile."

Take your own advice. If you read books yourself you might learn that high-ranking members of the Third Reich were highly cultured and educated in arts and humanities. Mao Tse Tung, responsible for millions of deaths, was a poet.

If these are your idea of "better persons" you must be the product of Swedish schools.

There is absolutely no evidence that studying the arts makes one a better person. It is, however, much more fun to study French than put in the the hard work required for a degree in science or engineering.
15:02 July 2, 2011 by Icarusty
The emphasis of the comments is all wrong. The world needs art, the world needs science, and the world needs practicality. Getting rid of funding for art students doesn't mean the end of art.

What we need are for scientists to become artists, take a year art to explore etc... then they will come back to their discipline with inspiration.
19:19 July 2, 2011 by Pro-alliance
"It has been shown that it is more difficult to find a job if you read subjects within the arts or humanities"

What has been shown is the fact that businesses are self indulgent and are not creating enough jobs? Saab is the star example! Instead of owning up to poor jobs supply, these guys are looking for a convenient excuse, hence attacking humanities and art subjects. A fending off statement designed to halt attracting attention towards that industry and onto hard working students who are legally free to pursue whatever they choose to do at universities. The same people will be up in the arms when students lack sufficient linguistic skills, which are acquired through the very courses they are now vilifying. Phew!
07:58 July 5, 2011 by karex
Her comment only goes to show her lack of creativity, and humanity... Typical to solve all the problems in the world either by increasing taxes or cutting funds. How about offering better counseling to students so they understand the current situation and can make more informed decisions about their own lives instead of some authority thinking and deciding for them? What happens to people who settle for work they hate just because it's easier to find a job in that area? It can lead to all sorts of other problems such as higher abseentism, depression and social behavioural problems to name a few. Repressing or removing arts and humanities is the first step to erradicating a culture. It has been a well-used technique by conquering peoples throughout history.
18:39 July 6, 2011 by Nordland88
The concept of art as something to be studied and learned in Universities is fairly recent in history. I think more artists are stifled by sitting in classes for years and getting all the credits needed for various degrees than are developed. True artists and the academic type are very different breeds of intellect. Quite incompatible. In any case most modern art consists of little more than a dust storm of interpretive words for something of little or no real substance.
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