www.bweducation.com | January 30, 2019
Liberal Education is a concept which is based on the principle that “minds are like parachutes; they function best when open!” Liberal Education, therefore, is expected to open young minds, body, and souls of the young ones in graduate arts and science colleges, and even higher education.
Like “Experiential Learning” being considered the norm of education in India, there is another norm for the students. A multi-disciplinary and broad spectrum approach called LIBERAL EDUCATION, now quite popular in Indian Universities and colleges. A learning environment where the students at the graduate level take the responsibility of learning themselves, and the role of the teacher is to facilitate their learning! Academic programmes in the Institutes are offered to provide students with necessary knowledge and skills in the field of their preferred choice.
It is a new wave, of liberal arts, in the form of a 3-year degree, with knowledge and skill development in a meandering stream of subjects. The platform develops among students’ abilities to connect and integrate knowledge, and helps them apply it to the current and future real-world scenarios of life and careers.
Private Universities are reviving the liberal arts education in India. Flame University, Ashoka University, Great Lakes, Symbiosis University, and NIMS University, are some of the larger ones who have all adopted Liberal Education, as an approach to grow the next generation students in their life, and career!
It was Flame University, Pune, under the leadership of Dr. Indira Parikh, its founder Director that initiated the concept some years ago; and saw it growing and being accepted in the education circles all over India. Basically a Western education concept, it is now well accepted and recognised in India among academia, parents, and undergraduate students in many of the eminent colleges and institutions.
Liberal Education is a concept which is based on the principle that “minds are like parachutes; they function best when open!” Liberal Education, therefore, is expected to open young minds, body, and souls of the young ones in graduate arts and science colleges, and even higher education. It has been proven so, by the fact it is now accepted and adopted wholeheartedly by Indian Universities and Institutes of excellence!
Liberal Education, to me resembles the old Indian Gurukuls which offered students holistic learning under acknowledged teachers and mentors, and was founded on a strong and long lasting “guru-shikshak” relationships! Mostly experiential and broad, rather than memorising mundane facts and figures. As it is understood, today, “education is not learning of facts, but training of the mind to think!” That is what the concept of Liberal Education embodies!
In fact, Liberal Arts is among the oldest subjects originating in the 5th century Greek education system. “It was the hallmark of good education for free men, thus termed Liberal” (as quoted by India Today magazine). It has a new identity today, expanded to probe boundaries of varied subjects, like literature, languages, history, philosophy, maths, psychology and science!
Liberal Education views life of students as one that spurs creativity and thinking. It helps evolve and develop their talent. And make leaders out of the youth in the present education system. Liberal Education makes student future ready in the ecosystem, of Millenniums today. It prepares students and the youth for world place life, and careers! It provides students with experience that fosters intellectual curiosity, critical thinking, self reflection, leadership, and team work. It builds in them a sense of commitment and professionalism, with sensitivity to the surrounding socio economic environment.
Constant upgrade and expansion in curriculum and academic policies at educational institutions makes the path to prepare students for required skills and expertise, for the future. It helps in developing their personalities, and social skills and well being. As the new breed of students and youth – ready for India and the world.
Liberal Education tweaks for the much needed upgrading of Indian education, in keeping with the latest trends in growth of Indian and global industries and businesses (careers for students). In its essence Liberal Education inculcates the following in students:
- Broad knowledge of multiple disciplines.
- In-depth study of a chosen discipline (subject).
- Ability to apply knowledge to practical real-world situations.
- Connecting the dots through mental and psychological models. For instance adopting habits of self reflection.
- Contextual learning.
- Freedom of the mind.
- Lifelong learning.
Liberal Education, thus, I believe prepares students for a sustainable future! Graduate and now even post graduate. Mentally, physically, aided by technology, like the Big Data, Analytics, and Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence, in the not so distant future!