What Does It Mean to Have Liberal Arts Education in East Asian Countries?

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A small work shop was held yesterday at ICU, and thanks for my professors invitation,  I participated as an observer with my classmates.

The main topic was the liberal arts education in the universities around the worlds.

The authoritative professors were invited as the guest speakers, and each universities' liberal arts education was introduced.

The conference itself was really fascinating.

Along with other presentations, one presentation about the liberal arts education in China's top universities It was noteworthy. I could not understand not all what the professor described, but he said like this.

" In China, when you have liberal arts education, you have to be integrated into the society later."

I thought this was extremely true in Japan. Many senior ICU students says that liberal arts have put them at risk, because in the society where critical thinking is not required, or at least not preferable, liberal arts should be abandoned to some degree.

And this findings at this conference and what my close senior students said are,  sadly, in extreme case, also applicable in North Korea.

The other day I watched this video from ted talks called  "This is what it like to teach in North Korea"

http://www.ted.com/talks/suki_kim_this_is_what_it_s_like_to_teach_in_north_korea

The teacher, who is the speaker, taught at North Korea's the most elite university. She explains that all classes were recorded, and monitored, and students were obliged to praise the greatest leader of North Korea.

She, at first, tried teaching how to write essays. But surprisingly, more that ten years of education have never given students chances to  show their emotions, because it was not required at all. Their ultimate purpose was only to serve for the government. Nothing else has been taught at all.

Little by little, students learned to write essay, and found themselves that they had emotions in them.

Then, she continued to teach critical thinking. But it was impossible, because in North Korea, there were no evidences given to reveal the truth. Everything taught in education were lies. So there were no ways to show evidences.

She, in the end, stopped to teach them critical thinking, because it would put them at risk. She knew that they were all monitored, so she wished them not to be aware of the social injustice in North Korea so that they can live a safe life.

This North Korea's case is applicable to China, and also Japan, where critical thinking was not accepted in certain society.

So, I had a question: What does it mean to have liberal arts education in Japan, in comparison with the countries where liberal arts are recommended? or more specifically, how can liberal arts education in ICU contribute to the society?


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What Does It Mean to Have Liberal Arts Education in East Asian Countries?