Low contact hour degrees are turning us into alcoholics, say twee headmasters

Bad news for Art History

Doss degrees with low contact hours are turning us into alcoholics, says a top headmaster.

He thinks humanities and social sciences degrees are too easy and are driving us towards boozing and lad culture because there aren’t enough lectures.

William Richardson, the general secretary of the headmasters’ and headmistresses’ association for top private schools, says low contact hours in humanities compared to science courses means students are drinking to keep entertained.


The top head also thinks freshers have “an unreasonable expectation of entitlement” to getting a first or 2:1 when they go to uni.

In an interview with the Daily Telegraph, he said: “These days most graduate students get a first class degree or a 2:1 when they leave.

“But it’s not a good idea for this to become the assumption of each first year, especially those with time on their hands, who are away from home for the first time and with no assessed work to do in the first three terms that counts towards their final result.

“It’s a privilege to be at one of those universities because you know there is a huge advantage in life. You’re going to earn over £100,000 more over a lifetime because you attended that institution.”

Richardson even mentioned a case where one student died of excessive drinking because they didn’t have enough contact hours. He said: “The parents said [their child] didn’t have enough to do. There were just five hours of teaching in a week.”


Keg or 9am?

There is particular concern for freshers, who leave home for the first time are vulnerable to the dangerous combination of no lectures and cheap alcohol.

He added: “Headteachers have been concerned that some students – first years, in particular – are made vulnerable at university by a combination of low contact hours and dangerous activities, especially those linked to alcohol consumption.

“It cannot be right that, for some, the design of teaching is the problem. It is not acceptable that there are undergraduates, especially in the humanities and some social (sciences) who end up in harms way because they are bored.”

He also is trying to “stamp out” initiation ceremonies, which he says are  “barbaric and dangerous”.

He said: “The NUS is giving a strong lead on this under its President Megan Dunn and we strongly encourage student unions to take a lead, alongside university managements, in oversight of students clubs and in stamping out dangerous initiation ceremonies.”