A majority of the college curricula are usually diverse. Some curricula are outstanding since they foster an interdependent and complex mindset in the students empowering them to develop problem-solving and analytical skills. Hence, education challenges students to attempt resolving polemical social, political, and economic issues in the society. Moreover, education should motivate the learners to assess the societal, civic, and ethical implications of their strategic options. Most of the arts programmes in private and public institutions nurture the students to have liberal views. Conversely, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics courses (STEM), have narrowed their curriculum to focus on practical aspects. As a result, the STEM programmes emphasize job skills and technical training. However, the STEM courses offer minimal insight into democracy, global cultures, human community, and scientific concerns. The STEM curriculum enables the students to secure employment opportunities but it does not prepare the learners to effectively handle issues affecting their professions. On the contrary, liberal education exposes learners to various topics that enable them to expound their opinions to design the required solutions. For that reason, liberal studies empower students to scrutinize issues from several perspectives to enable them to solve different problems.
Firstly, liberal education equips the graduates with the skills most managers seek in their staff. Some of the educational analysts allege that most of the colleges nowadays are being evaluated based on their objectives to suit the students' interests and goals. Consequently, most of the learners select their tertiary institutions based on their anticipated outcomes after pursuing their major courses in the colleges. Besides, the advantage the students will have once they graduate from that particular college influences their enrollment decisions. Similarly, return on investment (ROI) has a massive impact on the undergraduate student intake (Zakaria 45). Furthermore, the college education's ROI has influenced the institutional rankings. Most of the colleges offering the arts programs are among the highly ranked tertiary institutions due to their ability to instill various skills in their students. Data analysis, decision-making, communication skills, and analytical thinking are some of the primary skills that liberal education incorporates in the undergraduates. Therefore, liberal studies have made their graduates marketable through nurturing their problem-solving and critical thinking skills that most employers cherish.
Secondly, liberal education motivates the students to be innovative in the insecure job markets. Globalization has led to most business sectors experiencing a stiff competition in marketing their products and services. Hence, one has to be innovative given nowadays most sectors are being defined by an entrepreneur's capability to develop unique ideas or products for their consumers. Consequently, most managers will always recruit innovative graduates to assist them in handling the emerging trends in their competitive businesses and retaining their market share. According to Qiao, approximately 80% of the prominent business leaders prioritize their employees' innovation skills regardless of the courses they pursued at their tertiary education (302). Hence, most managers argue that even though a student is enrolled in the STEM courses as their major, they should acquire the liberal arts knowledge to have a well-rounded learning. The skills acquired from the liberal arts studies are usually applied to various disciplines. Besides, liberal education is beneficial in the unsteady employment market given individuals with multiple skills broadens their employment prospects. As a result, the liberal arts students' innovation prowess increases their self-employment chances compared to most of their STEM colleagues who rely on employment opportunities from various firms.
Finally, liberal arts courses help the students to develop long-term educational objectives. For instance, most of the graduates who pursue liberal arts as their major undergraduate course often pursue a master's degree. The liberal education curriculum offers the graduates multiple options on the postgraduate programs that one can pursue to advance their skills. Therefore, the liberal studies background gives the students a chance to learn diverse concepts in different fields. Subsequently, the liberal arts create an excellent foundation for one to advance their postgraduate educational ambitions (Zakaria 60). The students should make sure they select their major courses in the most appropriate college that will cater to their long-term educational ambitions. As a result, a thorough evaluation of the fields and majors are vital to the liberal arts graduates to determine the most suitable postgraduate option that befits their professional ambitions. Hence, the core educational requirements associated with the liberal arts' curriculum exposes the graduates to diverse concepts that inspire them to pursue master's degrees in liberal arts.
Liberal education programs have several shortcomings that have led to some of the educational critics referring to them as useless degrees. According to Kontowski, it is viable to abscond spending four years studying and massive college fees expense on the liberal education courses (85). For instance, almost 64% of the business managers will opt to employ a high school graduate than a liberal arts graduate. The liberal education programs offer undergraduates with general and broad concepts in different fields. Nonetheless, the liberal arts coursework does not offer a substantial in-depth focus and experience in a specific field. Hence, the students may lack the chance to develop and learn any specific technical skills at any proficient level. Most of the liberal education graduates often lack the entry-level skills that are mandatory for specialized jobs. However, liberal programs focus on the development of soft skills such as critical thinking, data analysis, and cognitive skills without any focus on technical skills. Therefore, the liberal studies offer limited exposure to the real-world experience and technical skills development required to make the students employable and marketable.
Some of the investors have endorsed the view that funding liberal arts courses are an expensive and economically unsustainable investment. In the past two decades, the liberal education funding has reduced significantly since most employers prefer the STEM graduates as a more efficient workforce than their colleagues from the liberal arts. Besides, the primary objective of acquiring tertiary education is to secure an employment opportunity in a particular field with a remuneration that is equivalent to the four years college fees. Therefore, most of the investors have opted to divert their funds to the STEM courses based on the public criticism that undermines liberal education as an unfeasible investment. Furthermore, most of the liberal arts graduates are often employed in various jobs that do not oblige one to have a college degree (Qiao 304). Conversely, the STEM programs focus on nurturing professional and technical skills that are applicable to various career-related positions. For that reason, the skills acquired from the liberal education programs are abstract and inviable after completion of the four-year coursework.
The STEM curricula offer an in-depth focus on specific fields compared to the liberal arts programs that have adopted a general and broad perspective on their coursework. Besides, the in-depth analysis of technical skills is a risky endeavor given the uncertain job market that characterizes most nations in the 21st century (Kontowski 98). The STEM technical program aims at empowering their graduates to secure well-paid jobs despite the high unemployment rates. Nonetheless, the liberal arts equip the students with critical thinking and problem-solving skills that enable them to be entrepreneurs. Hence, most STEM graduates will be among the unemployed youths scrambling for the limited employment opportunities available in the technical field.
Most critics claim that the STEM programs funding has increased significantly in the past decade due to technological advancement. Additionally, globalization has led to some of the governmental and non-governmental agencies offering more scholarship programmes, especially for the postgraduate studies. Such parastatals have customized their corporate social responsibilities to enhance their revenues by integrating the most recent technological concepts. Such scholarships are usually issued to their workforce or potential employees to learn emerging STEM concepts meant to realign the organizational operations (Candelaria 151). Similarly, some of the leading humanitarian organizations aim at fostering global cordial relations by offering several scholarships in management and leadership courses. Organizations that devote their funding to liberal studies purport that most of the global political, economic, and social crises will be mitigated through increasing the liberal arts graduates. As a result, more organizations need to channel their funding to the liberal arts to increase the population of youths who can resolve the societal problems.
Liberal education equips that students with numerous skills that make them employable and marketable to various fields. Moreover, the analytical thinking and decision-making skills have inspired most of the liberal arts graduates to be innovative due to the high unemployment rates. Therefore, the critical thinking and problem-solving skills have empowered the students to be self-reliant unlike most of their STEM colleagues who rely on being employed. Moreover, the liberal education provides a robust foundation for students who intend to further their postgraduate ambitions through offering them numerous options to pursue in their master's degree. (Work Count:1459)
Candelaria, Nathaniel P. "In Defense of a Liberal Education". Philippine Political Science Journal, vol 38, no. 2, 2017, pp. 150-152. Informa UK Limited, doi:10.1080/01154451.2017.1356017.
Kontowski, Daniel. "The Paradox of "Practical Liberal Arts". Lessons from the Wagner College Case for Liberal (Arts) Education in Eastern Europe". Voprosy Obrazovaniya/ Educational Studies. Moscow, no. 3, 2016, pp. 80-109. National Research University, Higher School of Economics (HSE), doi: 10.17323/1814-9545-2016-3-80-109.
Qiao, Guoqiang. "The Significance of the Humanities and Liberal Arts in Higher Education". European Review, vol 26, no. 02, 2018, pp. 299-310. Cambridge University Press (CUP), doi: 10.1017/s1062798717000680.
Zakaria, Fareed. In Defense of a Liberal Education. W. W. Norton & Company, 2015.
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