Monday, February 16, 2009

The Liberal Arts in a Global Context

We hear a lot about how we need to learn from other nations' education systems if we are to "keep up". Inside Higher Education, though, has an article that turns this entire discussion on its head. It turns out that American style liberal arts colleges are spreading around the world in such places as Ghana, Bangladesh, Russia, and South Africa. Why? According to the Susan H. Gillespie, director of the Institute for International Liberal Education at Bard College:

“It’s not just the spread of an American-style education. It’s something I think specific about the nature of liberal arts education, its ideology if you will, which I think people perceive – and I think correctly so – to be allied with democratization. Because it teaches tolerance, because it teaches critical thinking, which is nothing other than an ability… to understand diverse points of view.”

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