Is there any value in studying academic subjects that are not ‘useful’ in terms of generating wealth for the country?
Countries that have well-educated citizens tend to have a high standard of living as these individuals are able to make intelligent choices for a country and make use of its natural resources wisely.
There are many subjects that help a country to become wealthy such as banking, finance and accounting. Other sectors such as tourism and exports are of equal importance. Each country derives its income from different sources so it is a good idea to invest in these sectors and ensure there is enough human capital to promote these goods and services. The UK for example is well-known for its universities, attracting thousands of students from all over the world every year. Encouraging people to become professors would be a way to attract potential students to enrol in a course.
On the other hand, people should have the choice of studying subjects that interest them without having to worry if their country is benefiting from their choice. All subjects have their value even if they don’t seem to be contributing towards a country's income. An artist or architect might attract tourists to galleries and museums. A worker in an assembly line might be adding a nose to millions of teddy bears destined to be exported.
In my opinion, a university student should study what they please and there should be a range of subjects available for them to choose from. All jobs and tasks are useful for a country’s progress and so students should not only focus on the ones that obviously bring wealth to a country.
Question taken from Collins Vocabulary for IELTS p.17