Having transformed from being an ‘option for the fortunate’ to ‘a necessity for all students’, Liberal Arts Education presents itself as an approach to learning that aids in preparing individuals to deal with complexity, diversity and change. With subjects ranging from science to performing arts, Liberal Arts Education aims to deliver education in a holistic way, helping students to develop an attitude enriched with open mindedness and freshness of thought.
A lot has changed in the courses and requirements comprising a liberal education over the years. However, the broad goals of liberal education have been constant even till date. As Albert Einstein said, "The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks." The question to be answered here is that why should an educational experience be anything less than a unified whole? Every field of study offers to be a part of a much greater whole and a Liberal Arts Education bridges existing divides by contributing a curriculum that creates coherence and veracity in one’s intellectual experience.
Notably, what employers have been increasingly realising is that it is the graduates with the right skills rather than the right majors who have an edge in the competitive marketplace nowadays. Presidency College, Kolkata, now known as Presidency University, is one of the foremost institutions that introduced liberal education to Indians. The International Foundation for Research and Education (IFRE), founded by a group of prominent businessmen is already in the process of setting up a University dedicated to liberal education. Taking the concept of liberal arts even further, the new Ashoka University will not only have liberal education but will work on the idea of cross-fertilisation.
Top universities, around the world, like Stanford and Harvard are already following this system, along with MIT which is otherwise an engineering institute. Establishments providing liberal education in India include Apeejay Stya University, School of Liberal Arts at the Noida International University and Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts. Apeejay Stya University sets itself apart, being the first Liberal Arts and Meta University. The University, focussed on research and technology, provides a dynamic and unique academic system which includes key features like an innovative evaluation system; freedom to choose your degree and number of credits; a flexible graduation pace; among other things.
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