Matter of degree

25th April 2003 at 01:00
I wonder what well-validated scale Professor Carol Fitz-Gibbon is using to measure the "true achievement" of a degree in physics as against one in sociology ("Doubts about quality of added value scores", TES, April 11).

And where do the humanities come on her value scale?

Interestingly, the usefulness of a sociology degree can be demonstrated in this context. In the course of it, one might learn about the weaknesses of the economistic concept of "value-added" and about its current social functions; as well as being provided with the resources necessary to make a reasoned appraisal of claims about a modern society's need for science, as against humanities or social science, graduates.

A sociological education might also lead one to question whether economics should be the dominant concern in educational policy-making.

Martyn Hammersley Professor of Educational and Social Research, Open University

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