For a holistic development, why not choose liberal arts

For a holistic development, why not choose liberal arts

Five years ago, if you had to pursue a course in liberal arts, going abroad would have been the only option. But, now that is no longer the case.

With universities like Apeejay Stya University, O P Jindal Global University, Foundation for Liberal and Management Education (Flame) and Ashoka University in place, Indian students are getting a chance to give liberal arts education a shot, on home grounds itself.

Education in liberal arts gives students the opportunity to graduate in any discipline of the fine arts or humanities. One can study mathematics along with drama or fine arts or explore a variety of disciplines and then choose a specialisation that is tailored to their unique interests.

A four-year programme in liberal arts could cost anywhere around Rs 7 lakh per year, with the first two years being dedicated to foundation courses across disciplines and the student majoring in a subject of his/her choice in the final year.

Andrew Hay, a professor at the Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, said, “India is now focussing largely on vocational courses where students can get a wide range of subjects.

So, in this four-year course, students can opt for subjects of their choice and in the third year can do their specialisations.”

“It is an inter-disciplinary course, where both personal and professional development is taken care of. This course will give students a global exposure and they will also gain a lot of knowledge in various areas,” added Hay.

At Flame, the focus is on students exploring multiple choices. Students take courses in science, social sciences, humanities, global studies and performing arts while also learning an international language. 

Ashoka Ratnam, an 18-year-old student at the Jindal School of Liberal Arts and Humanities, said, “The reason why I chose this course is because of the variety of subjects we can choose from. In other colleges, one can only pursue law, but here under this course we can also take up theatre classes. On top of  it the faculty is also great. I have personally developed my communication skills after joining this course.”

“The History that is taught here is quite different from that of regular colleges. We are given readings, we go for field trips and visit monuments in reality and then come and write about them,” added Ratnam. The last year of the course is done at the Rollins College in Florida.

On the other hand, Apeejay Stya University receives students from countries like Nigeria, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Congo, Angola, France and Nepal, among others. The university offers graduate, postgraduate and doctoral courses, with a focus on research and technology. 

Sushma Berlia, Chancellor and co-founder, Apeejay Stya University said, “The university is also planning to introduce integrated programmes in architecture, law and some advanced programmes in pharmaceutical sciences as well.”

A hitch however, is that given liberal arts education is in its nascent stage, awareness among parents and students about the job opportunities post the course, is a concern.

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