Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Studying liberal arts for more options and a better society

“Studying subjects that come under liberal arts makes a person responsible and critical toward social issues,” says Phatik Poudel, a teacher at Institute of Advanced Communication, Education and Research (IACER) and Apex College in Old Baneshwar.

Highlighting the significance of the stream, he adds that a variety of subjects falling under liberal arts, like literature, media studies, economics, and social studies, among others, helps societies preserve and develop their civilization.

“Such subjects instill emotions and feelings in people and make them compassionate about the world they live in,” he remarks.

A student, Pusker Kafle, 27, took Sociology and Rural Development during his Bachelor’s in aspiration to learn more about society and social issues and a desire to uplift the status of the society.

Having acquired a Master’s degree in Sociology and currently pursuing Diploma in Social Sciences at Nepa School of Social Sciences and Humanities, he says, “Choosing the stream enabled me to gain knowledge in a number of interesting social aspects like anthropology, gender, development studies, politics and culture, among others.”

Similarly, Sonam Dolma Sherpa, 19, and an undergraduate student at Kathmandu University School of Arts at Hattiban, says, “I decided to do media studies because through media, a person can reach out to a large number of people. One can influence many people and develop the society.”

“At college, we get to learn a lot about traits needed for media, like creative writing, psychology, advertising and public relations, among others. All these are very interesting,” she adds.

And at Himalayan White House International College in New Baneshwor, Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences (BLAS), a four-year course, is offered that includes 40 different subjects under liberal arts.

A graduate of the course from the college, Nita Pradhan, 25, shares that BLAS is a multidimensional course and provides a little bit of knowledge in a variety of subjects. “Learning about 40 different social subjects in eight semesters has made me more communicative,” she says.

Currently working with Times FM, she says that the knowledge she gained during the four years has taught her a lot about different fields.
“And it’s been very helpful, especially while interviewing different professionals,” she further remarks.

Ghanashyam Ojha teaches gender studies and English Literature at Himalayan White House International College and says that a combination of subjects like International Relations, journalism, literature, psychology, social work and economics, among others, makes students broadminded.

“If an Arts student does Bachelor’s studies in a specific subject, s/he won’t get to go for a different subject during the Master’s level. But since BLAS include a variety of subjects, students after studying them can figure out which one they are interested in and good at, and do their Master’s accordingly.” He further adds that the variety enables them to wisely decide on the career they want to aspire.

“However, liberal arts studies in Nepal need more improvement,” says Ojha. He elaborates, “The traditional teaching methods need to be upgraded. Since students of liberal arts are required to learn about so many aspects of the society, they should be given more exposure.”

Practical approaches of teaching should be adopted, rather than just emphasizing on theoretical knowledge, he concludes.

source: republica,19 may 2014