What with £27,000 being the new price tag for 2012 undergraduate degrees, application figures for next year's enrolment will soon make for very interesting reading.
It is almost certain that degrees with less career oomph will be spurned by the masses. Goodbye English Literature, Philosophy, History; hello Accounting and Admin Studies.
In these expensive, jobless times it would be stupid to undertake three years of study to get a first class certificate valid only for bohemian coffee shops and bars. "You'll need a good knowledge of postmodernism to chat with the clientele," head baristas will say.
If this does come to pass - and the number of arts students does indeed plummet - we may see such subjects back to their pre-war position, an exclusively moneyed set. The work of the last 50 years will have been reversed in a moment, you'll have to be a Duke or the child of an industrialist to read Harold Pinter's pauses or discover Ken Saro-Wiwa's ghost.
But maybe less reliance on English and History will be a good thing. We can't realistically have a nation of admirers and gentle critics. Maybe we should encourage the young to express themselves discovering cures, further propelling rocket science and reprogramming the information age. Maybe...
I was one of a handful from my North London comprehensive that thought studying the arts at university was a good idea. A snip, we thought, at £9,000. Sussex, Manchester, Kent would propel us into the arms of a lovely growing economy where we'd make thousands publishing e-books or buying and selling houses or something.
Occasionally I dream of going back to my school in 20 years' time, as successful as Will Self, Charles Saatchi and Richard Desmond - fellow old boys all. I shake hands with my old, shrivelled English teacher and walk onto the crumbling stage in the hall that only half the pupils can fit into, and recite the rousing tale of my glorious career.
On less happy nights I arrive for the speech and my English teacher isn't there. I'm told the work dried up and she took a job at Harrow to pay the bills. My rousing tale falls flat. None of the class of 2031 can understand the need for writing down ideas and anyway, they say, the Chinese would never allow it - their sector's rocket ship production is down as it is...
Despite the undoubted good of an increase in practical knowledge and economy-boosting expertise, the Arts must sustain (and increase) its uptake from all strata of society. For it is here, in the reflection and creation of words, art, journalism and film, that humanity's take on the world is largely set. And it must not only be set by those with the money to.
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