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    Asia Invest in Liberal Arts

    Today, liberal arts education aims at encouraging creativity and critical thinking, particularly in a global context. This is best accomplished in small, intensive seminars focused on discussion, in which educators do not just lecture but stimulate important analysis of a topic from varying perspectives. This gives students the opportunity better understand and articulate their thoughts on the subject. It also provides them with the opportunity to cultivate their capacity in coming to a consensus or to disagree based on theoretical discussion. It is only through an engaged pedagogy of the liberal arts tradition, can US higher education institutions remain in the lead.

    The shift in online delivery of education through MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) has provided the possible access to distinguished lectures. However, it has failed to provide some of the fundamental aspects of liberal arts education such as peer-to-peer learning and extra-curricular courses.

    For Asia, the digital transformation extends plausible opportunities for expanded access and schools in Asia are acknowledging the importance of interactive learning within classrooms; which can be integrated effectively in “flipped classrooms”. This has been placed into practice rather effectively at Duke-NUS Graduate School of Medicine in Singapore.

    Liberal arts education is non-vocational hence, many graduates move on to pursue a graduate education in other fields. But many also enter the workforce immediately. The experience of top liberal arts institutions revealed that regardless the profession, a robust liberal education serves as a strong groundwork for a successful career because it advocates flexibility and a love of learning.

    Young people today will not only have to continue to live lives forged by the eternal questions presented in classical literature and philosophy, they are also confronted with the large influx of data due to an information revolution. Liberal arts education extend well beyond the traditional humanities. The essence of liberal arts approach is to provide students with immense intellectual exposure and encourage them to view problems through various contexts; and to ask the right questions.

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