Alice Thomson is absolutely right to champion the value of the arts, humanities and social sciences for our future prosperity (‘Children are being turned into mini-robots’, 16 May).
As the national voice for these subjects, the British Academy is also concerned about the rhetoric which sees some subjects as more ‘useful’ than others.
But it does not have to be the arts and humanities versus science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Both are central to critical contemporary issues. After all, where would the engineers of driverless cars be without their ethicist colleagues?
If the UK is to address the major challenges we face - the onward march of automation, Brexit, an ageing society - we will need graduates with a range of skills and from a range of backgrounds. And in an economy which is 80% service sector, that argument has never been more powerful than it is today.
Chief Executive, The British Academy
An abridged version of this letter appeared in The Times, 18 May 2018