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Rupi Kaur Criticises Universities Cutting English Literature Degrees

Ella Kipling September 20, 2022

Poet Rupi Kaur has criticised universities axing English Literature degrees, emphasising the importance of her own education in the subject which helped her get to where she is today.

A small number of universities have cut English Lit courses including Sheffield Hallam University, Cumbria, Roehampton, and Wolverhampton.

Kaur is not the only public figure to speak out against the decision to cut arts degrees. Philip Pullman, Sarah Perry, and James Graham also voiced their concerns on the issue.

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Rupi Kaur slams unis cutting English Literature degrees

Speaking to Sky News about universities’ decisions to cut English Literature courses, Kaur deemed it ‘horrible,’ and stated that her education in English Lit proved vital to getting her where she is now.

‘I went to university and studied English and it shaped what I’m doing today,’ Kaur said, ‘so it makes me sad that somebody else who would have loved that path of study, won’t have access to that.’

Kaur’s first poetry collection, milk and honey, was written when she was a 21-year-old university student. She wrote, illustrated, and self-published the book, which was followed by her second collection, the sun and her flowers.

The collections have sold over 10 million copies and have been translated into over 42 languages. Recently, in 2021, Kaur executive produced and starred in her debut film, Rupi Kaur Live, which is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

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Sheffield Hallam cuts English Lit degree

In June this year, Sheffield Hallam University confirmed that they would be cutting their English Literature course, and instead incorporating it into the broad-based English degree.

Sir Philip Pullman, the writer of the His Dark Materials series, told the Guardian of his concerns over universities cutting the standalone English Literature course.

He said: ‘The study of literature should not be a luxury for a wealthy minority of spoilt and privileged aesthetes, but a spring of precious truth and life that every one of us is entitled to.

‘Without literature, without music and art and dance and drama, people young and old alike will perish of mental and emotional and imaginative starvation. We really do have a government of barbarians.’

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Ella is the Head of Content at Freshered and also works a freelance journalist at GRV Media, writing for HITC and Reality Titbit. Her interests lie in news and anything culture related including entertainment, musicals, books, and social media. Ella is also a big supporter of student media and writes for her university’s newspaper as well as hosting her own show on the radio station.