Updated: Jan 4
We make no apology for posting another review of David Goodhart's seminal book 'Head, Hand, Heart' on the topic of higher education and its urgent need for reform.
This review, by Julian Coman for The Guardian on the 14th September 2020, highlights among other things the extraordinary impact which de-industrialisation has had on the sector. To take the city of Sheffield as an example:
"In 1976, Goodhart writes, there were 45,000 steelworkers and 4,000 students in Sheffield. In 2017, 20 years after Tony Blair made a mantra of “education, education, education”, there were 5,000 steelworkers and 60,000 students. A new common sense urges getting a degree as a passport into a world now dominated by cognitive work, much of it performed in booming city-hubs.
One of the results of this profound cultural shift has been a stagnation in pay and a demoralising loss of status for jobs not deemed to be part of the graduate “knowledge economy”. The hourly pay of bus and coach drivers has risen by just 22% since 1975, compared with a 111% rise for advertising and public relations managers."
The implications for all of us are profound. Jobs once regarded as honourable are now seen as unworthy by a political/media class who know nothing of them and do not cover them, and which, in consequence, have been off-loaded onto a twilight immigrant class not too proud to work in areas that the rest of us would have taken up a generation or two ago.
In summary, 'hand' and 'heart' jobs - in the trades and the caring professions especially - have been sorely neglected and in attempting to rehabilitate them in the minds of his readers Julian Coman argues, David Goodhart is performing a valuable service.
The full review article can be read here with a link to the original beneath it:
A steelworker in South Yorkshire in the 60s: ‘In 1976, there were 45,000 steelworkers in Sheffield.’ Photograph: Heritage Images/Getty Images