Liberal arts education is a learning approach that teaches students how to think independently and develop broad academic and intellectual abilities. It rests on a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach. Through liberal arts education, students get choices across streams, discover their true calling, and broaden their horizons. It provides a platform to learn how to connect and integrate knowledge and apply the learnings in real-world scenarios.
While the traditional education model in India has stressed memorizing and reproducing information, liberal arts encourage creativity, critical thinking, good communication, and a love for learning.
India’s National Education Policy (NEP), which had a revamp in 2020, has laid out a path for universities to adopt a liberal arts, discussion-based, and discovery-based mode of education. As a result, the NEP 2020 encourages a multidisciplinary education system that helps develop the creative and analytical sides of the brain simultaneously.
Here are the top five reasons why India needs a liberal arts learning model:
1. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach to learning
One of the main pillars of liberal arts education is the interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approach that integrates different areas of study and exposes students to multiple disciplines. In the liberal arts model, a Data Science student can study a course in Music, while a Law student can take up a course in Humanities. This approach at an undergraduate level enhances the ability of students to understand issues from different perspectives and thus get a holistic and expansive intellectual grounding.
2. Proficiency in active learning
Liberal arts education comprises hybrid methods for teaching and learning, with creativity as the cornerstone. Team teaching with case studies and interactive classroom sessions is an integral part of liberal arts education. Active learning methods that allow one to take a lead in the classroom learning experience are employed, where students discuss, and evolve creative ways of dissecting the concepts, theories and methods.
Active learning creates a personalized environment for students. They get the space and time to process information and interact with fellow students and faculty. As a result, students also learn good interpersonal skills, oral and written communication skills, and the importance of teamwork.
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