Liberal Arts and its role in today's education

Technology alone is not enough. It’s technology married with the liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the results that make our hearts sing” – Steve Jobs

Over the past few years, a growing number of jobs are being replaced by algorithms, robots, and other forms of automation. The world is changing. Are we?

As a former recruiter, I often noticed that job aspirants did not make the final cut despite having excellent technical skills. The hiring team’s feedback was that many of them lacked the skills that would enable them to work in teams successfully. In fact, a whopping 95% of talent professionals in India say soft skills such as persuasion, collaboration, adaptability, are very important to the future of recruiting and HR, as per LinkedIn Global Talent Trends report of 2019.

According to the Association Of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U), the areas on which hiring managers are notably more focused are oral communication, ethical judgment, working effectively in teams, and applying knowledge and skills in real-world settings. But our current education system focuses only on the technical skills required for these jobs. What would we need to do additionally?

As we say at I Love Mondays, one must be A jack of all trades and master of a few!”. We need both left and right brain skills - Logical as well as creative! This would mean educating ourselves not just in the sciences, humanities, commerce, or technology. But maybe a course where we would learn all of these. Does such a course exist? Yes! Liberal Arts is the way forward.

Liberal Arts is a multidisciplinary system where you would learn subjects from various disciplines like Humanities, Commerce, Technology, and the Sciences. A Liberal Arts program will equip you with some of the top skills identified by The World Economic Forum for the future - Complex Problem Solving, Creativity, and Critical Thinking. It also focuses on understanding diversity and becoming responsible citizens.

Why choose Liberal Arts education?

1. It prepares you for the future - As you would study a variety of subjects across different disciplines, your education will equip you with transferable skills relevant to various careers. It also prepares you for jobs that are yet to be created!

2. Focussed on community learning - Due to the smaller size of the classroom, there is greater interaction between the faculty and students. This encourages students to work and learn together, creating a powerful alumni network.

3. Equips you to be a socially responsible citizen - Critical thinking and Complex Problem solving are a part of Liberal Arts education. You would be equipped to understand problems, come up with solutions, and effectively communicate the same to others.

Choosing Liberal Arts for your undergraduate education can be a wholesome experience that equips you to make the most of the opportunities in the future.

Archana R Nayak

Yellow Collar Mentor

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