Creative industries fear tuition fees will kill supply of talent

Feb 24, 2018 by

Costs put off students who fear being indebted, but there is a wider loss is to the economy

Dua Lipa’s double victory at last week’s Brit awards was a triumph for a young artist who initially struggled to break into the big time – but it is also a vindication of a creative arts education. At a time of rising education costs, debates over declining skills levels and funding cutbacks, the value of schooling and degrees in arts subjects is facing renewed scrutiny.

Last month, it emerged that the British and Irish Modern Music Institute, a rock music college that offers degrees in music production and songwriting, had received £24.4m in tuition fees last year, compared with £18m for the globally renowned London School of Economics. It leaves the question of how many of those loans will be paid back, given the arduous path to career success in the music industry. Indeed, the government launched a review last week of university tuition fees, including consideration of whether to vary the cost of certain subjects based on whether they were more or less “economically valuable”.

At least Lipa, who won best female solo artist and breakthrough artist last week, is an example of the financial benefits of arts teaching. The 22-year-old, who was the most streamed female artist in the UK last year, took classes at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and credits a teacher at the London institution with giving her the confidence to be a singer. Three of Lipa’s fellow nominees for female artist – Kate Tempest, Paloma Faith and Rita Ora – all had creative or performing arts educations too.

Deborah Annetts, chief executive of the Incorporated Society of Musicians, cites a government report stating that the creative industries as a whole – including music and arts – are worth about £92bn a year to the UK. “Music is central to our cultural life, a key driver of economic growth, creates jobs, and has a positive impact on children’s cognitive development and emotional wellbeing,” she added.

At the music department at City University in London, the mood among students is positive, despite all that debt weighing over their heads. This is a course driven by love of the subject more than by a cold calculation of earnings longevity.

Source: Creative industries fear tuition fees will kill supply of talent | Business | The Guardian

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