In recent years, there is an issue in Indonesian academic to apply the Liberal Arts Education method in universities. This idea comes among the lot of criticisms toward the national education system. Some people say that our current curriculum or system does not build the students to be well-rounded person. School or college are considered just teaching one major, and forces the student to become experts in that place without mastering the other things. Also, they believe that students can not only take a number of classes which are directly related to the student’s career goal. They argue that Students should also study other lectures outside the major. It’s aimed to create students who are able to do multitasking job, so they will always be ready whatever the field is. The Rector of Universitas Indonesia, Prof. Gumilar Rusliwa Somantri, also has an interest on the Liberal Arts method. Just after the inauguration of being the rector of Universitas Indonesia, he stated his intention to apply the method in the university. However, we also need to consider the objective of Liberal Art Education with the demand of the global world toward the skillful workers nowadays. This essay will discuss whether the Liberal Arts education is still relevant to be applied in Universitas Indonesia as the first class university in Indonesia by considering the job competition, educational fund, and the human resources availability.
It has been argued that liberal arts college give the well-rounded education to the students. In an article titled “What is a Liberal Arts College” , students are supposed to take a number of classes which not related to their career goal directly. They have the freedom to choose what class or lecture that they want to learn without any major restriction frame. As the original principle, liberal arts education was taught only to the free men in ancient Greek era. The subjects included Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric, music, astronomy, arithmetic, and geometry. Students are supposed to learn all of the 7 subjects in order to give the comprehensive and well-rounded education.
In reality, this kind of method is ineffective to create the students skillful in at least one field of expertise. For instance, a student who study at faculty of engineering and take his major in shipping technique, is it needed for him to take others major such as philosophy according to his career goal as a shipping engineer? It is just a wasting time activity by taking some courses that you’ll never use it later on.
Moreover, if a student takes a lot of classes which are not related to his educational purpose, it will only make him difficult in focusing to his goal. Each class has its own standard and assignment. To get the good result at class, student needs to follow the class and finish all the assignment. Could you imagine how do they concentrate and master all of those subjects? Certainly, no body’s perfect in this world. Each person has its own excess and weakness. Student must focus on the excess and optimize the potential, rather to spend the time in surmounting the weakness. At the result, it just brings the student to not mastering his major as deep as possible.
Still in the article titled “What is a Liberal Arts College” , people who agree in this method also consider that liberal arts method is not needed to provide any job training or professional programs. They believe that in 4 – 5 years education is not the time to gaining the work experience. It can be obtained at the grad school, internships, or in the work place. In Liberal Arts College, students are taught to thinking critically and understanding something more comprehensively. It is such a good thing that student earns from a liberal arts college indeed. On the contrary, the inexperienced fresh graduate workers are not needed by many companies. Companies just need the prepared workers that can do a certain job instantly. What they expect are the skillful workers which are produced by the college or university.
Also, companies do not wish for training them to be able in doing certain job. This thing is ineffective and unproductive to the company. Beside train a group of fresh graduate workers to do certain job, company prefer to recruit the prepared and skillful workers. This tendency can be understood by reflecting on the excess of working forces in job market. Therefore, this condition would reduce the job opportunity to unskillful graduates which are not received any job training in liberal arts college.
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