India and a Liberal Arts Education

It’s happened, the discovery of a Liberal Arts Education in India. A country with 1.3 Billion, growing furiously and changing dramatically, once India was a country that revered doctors, engineers, lawyers and life-long careers in government offices. Today, India has become the fifth biggest economy in the world.

What does that mean for India’s younger generations?

It means India is moving towards a country with tremendous opportunities to create jobs not just in existing employment sectors, but in ones that have not been thought of yet. Where once there was an assurance of job security in limited fields in India, now India is on the brink of the new world, a world where you can create and partner multiple fields and you can create new opportunities and jobs for others. Now, more than ever, India needs an educational platform that marries research, analytics and classroom academia, strengthens cross-cultural understanding, drives work forces that co-exist in multiple countries and builds on the reality that India has moved ahead. But, as India surges forward, we are still lacking liberal arts colleges in India that can accommodate its large population.

Sara Krishnan, current freshman at Ashoka University says “The fact that Ashoka is one of the few thriving liberal arts colleges in India shows that the Indian education system wants to break away from the rote system of learning and look beyond specializing in one, single field. It wants to explore the possibilities of subjects intertwining in ways that never seemed possible.” However, thriving liberal arts colleges in India like Ashoka University, PDPU-School of Liberal Studies and Flame University exist for the ‘few’ and unfortunately do not have the capacity to include the large majority of India’s students looking for a solid liberal arts education. This is where the United States comes in. Now, more than ever, colleges in the States are pushing for a diversity within their student populations. The need for international students in US universities drives the heart of a liberal arts education, the knowledge that higher education thrives on diversity brings cross-cultural knowledge, international expertise and adds to the global economy and political landscape, all much needed to stay in this futuristic global race. A liberal arts education is the future, and its now.

Preeti Rajendran
Assistant Director of international Relations, Washington & Jefferson College

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