Understanding the world of Liberal Education

Understanding the world of Liberal Education

What is liberal education? According to google, liberal education is the system that is suitable for the cultivation of a free human being, hence the term ‘liberal’.

teesha debnath Keemaya BandodkarUpdated: Saturday, July 09, 2022, 10:41 AM IST
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Let’s begin with the technical side of things. Our government has acknowledged the need for a change in the status quo of education - to compete and be on par with the best universities in the world, the National Education Policy (NEP) was introduced in 2020. Since all foreign universities have a four-year bachelor’s degree as a minimum requirement, the NEP encourages colleges to introduce this for all programmes in the liberal education system.

Now, here’s the important question that has probably crossed your mind; What is liberal education? According to google, liberal education is the system that is suitable for the cultivation of a free human being, hence the term ‘liberal’. Our experience has been along the same lines.

Liberal Education provides a fresh perspective

Liberal education is a course that aims to make us reconsider our world and gives us a fresh perspective. For decades, we have been taught in school that there is a single way of thinking - a right answer and a wrong answer with nothing in between. We were directed only toward the mainstream careers. Even though they didn’t mean to limit our options, that is how the system works. But liberal education focuses on derailing this train of complacency. In today’s setting, we need people who can creatively approach problems that trouble the world, rather than by-hearting entire textbooks.

In our brief but ongoing time as students of liberal education, we have found it to be interdisciplinary. We have had the privilege to expand our horizons and choose subjects we are passionate about. We are not forced to work with a single field in isolation, but rather we are introduced to the different fields it is connected to and the importance of these connections in today’s multidisciplinary world.

Teesha Debnath and Keemaya Bandodkar

Liberal Education provides a safe space for growth

Liberal education allows us to explore our creative sides and nudges us towards thinking practically. We can see the different systems of thinking merge together to create something revolutionary. Liberal education provides a safe space for growth be it academically or as a person. It doesn’t brush our individuality and identity under the carpet of the “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy.

The world has been multidisciplinary for a long time; some of the examples being Leonardo DaVinci who was an artist and a lover of Science, Goethe who was a writer and a scientist, Michelle Obama is an attorney and an author and the former first lady of the United States, Brian May is the lead guitarist of one of the greatest bands and an astrophysicist, and our very own contribution to the cross-disciplinary list of greats, Chanakya - who was a teacher, author, strategist, philosopher, and an economist.

Concept's roots in India

This new but ancient avenue of education has been adopted everywhere despite its roots being in India and it’s time we catch up again. What we need as students of an interconnected world; with social media is the freedom to think for ourselves, criticise the pedagogy, question the content and the convention, and pick careers other than the orthodox.

This article is co-authored by Teesha Debnath (B.Sc. {Hons.} 1 st year, School of Liberal Arts and Sciences) and Keemaya Bandodkar (B.A. Economics {Hons.}, 1 st year, School of Economics) RV University, Bengaluru.

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