Routinely, people with irrelevant or no background in humanities have the firmest (but false) assumptions about the field, especially the notion: "Oh, c'mon it's not that hard, it's just studying". As a PhD candidate in History I have 1) to learn two additional foreign languages (at least in an intermediate level), 2) I have to travel in three different countries to research on archives, and primary sources, 3) to filter an ocean of the aforementioned material, 4) to read a litany of bibliography to avoid plagiarism etc., 5) to have a fairly good knowledge in other fields (geography, sociology, ethnology, political sciences, geopolitics/geostrategics, statistics), 6) Decent skills in argumentation, reasoning, and analyzing, 7) to attend seminars, lectures, presentations, publish articles, 7) Not to mention the high politicization s***t that my thesis will draw from the opposite side, 8) Finally, History is unfortunately a subject that everyone can have an opinion, even if he just watch History Channel
Unless the point of life is to just "work, buy, consume, die" and perhaps make new people to go through the same process these things are important. Thinking about who you are, your place in all of this is intrinsic to the human spirit. That's why philosophy is important. Self-expression is needed for fulfillment. No amount of material goods will satisfy me or most people. That's where humanities comes in.
Philosophy and the humanities are easy to cut when budgets get squeezed. However, those students that are versed in both of these subjects invariably do better in every other subject. It must have something to do with the way it trains brains to work--it's easier to understand math and science if you also have the right brain working in your favor. I personally know that when I sat for my PhD exams I had a huge number of questions on philosophy. It's impossible to understand the higher levels of science without knowing general philosophy. It makes it easier to do research, as well.
I have always despised the focus schools put on maths and sciences and yet seem to neglect philosophy or even a simple English class. Humanities is what makes up our cultures, our history, it's the reason we're here, and many subjects by definition expand our minds and allow us to see things from different viewpoints. All subjects should be equal, because all are equally important. Nay, in fact, I'd say many humanities classes are more important to a future worker than math past Geometry.
Yes I definitely think philosophy and humanities are underrated in education. I think that people/ students do not take these classes seriously simply because they are very subjective a lot of the time, compared to objective classes such as math and science. These subjects usually have a clear cut answer but humanities and philosophy often do no. I think they do need to be taken more seriously because they help shape our morality.
We often look at humanity and philosophy courses as something an individual takes for an easy A. However, these classes have tremendous insight and can teach people a great deal about the understanding of humanity. With the current world in such dismay we must study these courses as they help guide individuals to understanding.