Liberal Arts: The Solution to the Menace of Our Obsolete Education System

The Problem with Our Current System


Do you see a connection between Victorian literature and imperial colonisation? No? Okay let's try another question, do you see any connection between income disparity and climate change? No, again? Well, don’t blame yourself, you are not made to think on these lines. 


We are accustomed to perceiving worldly issues separated with hard-line boundaries, with little or no convergence. But the universe does not throw problems at us by judging our proficiency for a particular subject matter, it will throw problems at us which will look utter chaos at the worst and a symphony of different problems at the best. 


And this is where our traditional education system takes a beating, it does not teach us to survive the world, rather it tries to make us as close as a copy of a mechanised robot as possible. If there is still a doubt whether this kind of education can help us, the answer is an emphatic no. 


Our hollowed-up education system has, quite regretfully, lost the essence of education, it has become a place where creativity, curiosity and individual thinking is given up as sacramental sacrifices to get an industrialized perception. 


What Are Liberal Arts?


But amidst the gloom of our obsolete schooling approach, blooms a lotus of Liberal Arts, envisaging to usher in a new age. Liberal Arts is a novel method with ancient roots, it believes in a multi-disciplinary approach, encompassing varied fields into one course. 


It is a mix of philosophy and politics, ideology and identity, culture and communication, algebra and archaeology, and many more things waiting to be explored by the young minds who take the course. 


It does not mandate its students to master theorems and principles of a particular subject specialisation while sitting in a four-walled classroom, on the contrary, it expects its students to grow and delve into varied subject matters which help them understand complex global issues with an expanded and diversified perspective. 


A hands-on experience and field visits are an essential part of liberal arts, as they aim to develop student personalities in a manner that does not seclude them from our society rather make them an integral and responsible constituent in a constructive debate centred around the real issues faced by our society. 


Liberal Arts are everything a real educationist could have asked for, but the story seems too perfect to be true, right? And here enters the antagonist of our story, and surprise-surprise, it is us only. 


What Went Wrong?


We as a society never even accepted Liberal Arts as a respectable passion, leave alone considering it a viable study career, as we could never move over our obsessive fantasy for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. 

Success in our society is not judged by a person’s ability to make a definitive change in our society, but by his or her capability to end up at a tech-savvy high earning job. 


Liberal Arts are discarded as a hobby too expensive to waste time upon or too risky to leave an ‘actual’ job for in some multinational company. 


Liberal Arts in India


Back at home, the problem gets even worse. We mandate our young minds to slog over laws and theories set centuries ago who have inadvertently lost any real-world connection whatsoever. They are made to dive deep into their subject to a level as to which alienates them from any other worldly issue which affects our society. 


School going children from the definitive age of 13-14 are pushed over to a world where cracking highly competitive and redundant exams is the sole goal, with not even a sliver of individual desire to be different. 


Such a struggle ruthlessly kills all aspiration within a kid to aspire to be something 'unconventional', but such a bane is worn up with panache in our society as we move far away from reality and set up expectations for our children to live up to a robotic and mechanised lifestyle. 


Our education system, made to manufacture minions for the whims and wishes of our masters, has not only made our children devoid of happiness but also from any sense of sensitivities to the problems our society faces. They are, as a fatal consequence of the kind of education they receive, remote to any issue prevailing in our society. 


What Do We Need to Do?


A sincere approach towards adopting and inculcating liberal arts would have helped our children not only understand the real issues facing our world but also would have given them the tools to devise credible solutions for them.


It is our collective misfortune that we have raised them as mass-produced commodities with industrial standards of specification and grading, instead of the wonderful shining rays of hope they can be, each representing a set of unique capabilities to help our society to prosper. 


We have lost generations worth of talent in the pursuit of moulding our children to fit a specific kind of box, but now let them for once unshackle the bonds, so that they can live up to their individual best potential, for this is not what we are expected to do, it is what we need to do. 


Written by - Piyush Pandey

Edited by - Christeena George

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