When we think about the liberal arts, we always associate it with the idea of excessive amounts of reading, writing and cultural understanding. I, personally, believe that it is exceedingly essential to a wholesome education yet it might be difficult for some people to fathom. The necessity of a core liberal arts education is relevant in the American system of education, however it is important to understand that such an idea is non-existent in the Eastern system of education. Therefore, it is quite essential to understand that despite the fundamental requirement of such an education, some people aren’t structured for such a system and therefore should be trained more effeffectively to overcome this change. In this blog, I’ll be exploring the various ways in which a liberal arts education is essential, how it may also be redundant and how issues arising from the lack of grasp over this kind of education may be tackled. I will also be presenting a first hand experience of a moderate difficulty that arises due to the difference in education in varying cultures and how this impacts one’s approach to learning.
Cultural stereotypes, despite being incredible offensive, are incredibly accurate and relevant, even today. One of the main issues that students from an Eastern upbringing face, is that they are not exceedingly proficient in the fields of liberal arts, since it’s a common practice to push one’s children to pursue the field of science. This came to my notice when a friend of mine, whose intended major is Econometrics, was forced into doing a core liberal arts program for two years, before moving onto courses that were actually pertaining to his skillset and interest. He would complain, that despite the obvious significance of cultural/social foundation, he was unable to fathom the expectations of his professors and the manner of presentation of his work. Here is something that may seem quite obscure to someone who is not an active participant of the culture, but the East is very science-centric. It is very safe to assume that children who are not exemplary, in the field of science, are considered to be less intelligent than those who are. Therefore, the education system is not very focused on increasing an individual’s civic sense.Despite the evolution of times and mindset, it is quite interesting to note how many Asians are inclined towards career options such as those in engineering or medicine. Despite the obvious consideration of such shortcomings in terms of ESL etc, the Western system of Education is very focused on aspects of a lifestyle that are quite foreign to the Eastern culture.
Of course, this issue has reduced hugely since before, due to the introduction of universal education systems such as IB, which focus quite adequately on matters of English and creating a global mindset. The educationtion system in the Eastern culture, despite training the students for perseverance and immense ability to push oneself, lacks in making them more aware of global issues and ways in which they can be more concerned citizens. It is also essential for the Western system of college education to create a middle ground for students who are not aware of how to approach subjects which require critical thinking and analysis, rather than logic and hard work. Since, I have been active participant of an Indian based system and IB, I am aware of just how lost I would have been if IB hadn’t been a bridge from my school life to college. Even now, it is quite difficult for me to understand certain aspects of the Liberal Arts education; never having been pressed into public speaking or doing presentations, I feel quite nervous to do. However, I believe there are many solutions to this problem and their many ways in which the Liberal Arts can be fathomable by a culture that is not very adept in understanding it. There is an obvious need for a cultural and social awareness, however it needs to be made much more universal. Thus, let me help you liber-ate yourself from your distaste for the idea of liberal studies.