Are we liberally educated? The answer is “Not at all.”
Being a proponent of individual empowerment, labeling liberal education as a cry of the day is neither exaggeration nor verbosity. Prior to going into its details, it is pertinent to elucidate the concept of liberal education.
“Liberal education” means to prepare and enable an individual to confront all sorts of problems and challenges with little toil. Liberal education can be expounded as “a philosophy of education that empowers the individuals with versatile knowledge, transferable skills and the art of solving routine problems.
Contrary to conventional education which merely produces degree holders, laureates, and medalists, liberal education produces all-rounder artisans, craftsmen, practitioners, mechanics, technicians, and professionals equipped with versatile aptitude and proficiencies.
It does not produce a thinking Hamlet; a victim of procrastination, rather it inspires an individual to enhance his/her psychomotor domain. Liberal education prepares students to examine and evaluate ideas from multiple dimensions, learn to solve problems, adapt, and collaborate according to the situations.
By amalgamating multiple disciplines of studies, liberal education exposes its mentees to a wide range of subjects, motivating them to think beyond the narrow casket of their minds. Liberal education does not focus on the STEM fields, rather it expands the horizon of epistemology to an integrative and interdisciplinary level.
Liberal education trains its apprentices how to confront the dilemmatic twists and turns occurring in their practical and professional life.
It is so pathetic that Pakistani graduates lag behind their foreign counterparts in multidisciplinary competitions due to their liberal illiteracy. We have the mawkish vanity of having eponymously graduated but in the strict sense of terms, we are liberally ignorant.
We should acknowledge the fact that specialization in a specific field is deficient without requisite expertise in multiple fields pertaining to the different walks of life. For congenial survival, it is unavoidable for an Individual to be a jack of all trades.
For instance, a subject expert will find himself in a lurch until and unless he is acquainted with computer skills, internet navigation, and problem-solving abilities. Apart from being a specialist/teacher, he should be a proficient horticulturist, cook, athlete, counselor, debater, motivator, and above all a paragon for his students.
The contemporary world does not need so-called specialists and titular gurus, rather it needs generalist all-rounders. A theoretical specialist finds himself in quandary due to being deaf, dumb, and blind to pragmatic expertise.
Conventional mastery and specialization in a single field are outdated and no longer empirical and lucrative. Our education system requires to produce liberally qualified individuals to get the better of their problems.
As the thespians in the theater of life, we neither need dependent specialists nor intelligent apes, rather we need well-rounded men of letters.
Aurangzeb – the author of this piece– is an English Lecturer in Higher Education Department (HED) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).