The processes of globalization and modernization permanently impose new requirements on the sphere of higher professional education, including the quality of a modern university. The ways and extent of its renewal may be different ranging from creating a new type of autonomous higher education institution to shifting the content of higher education. At the same time, the essence of university, which is the autonomous sociocultural world, the university corporation based on institutional and academic freedoms must have remained unchanged. In this regard, all the prerequisites constitute liberal education. Therefore, liberal education is important for responsible global citizenship because it provides necessary knowledge and professional skills, as well as forms sustainable attitude towards one’s civic life.
Before analyzing the impact of liberal education, it is necessary to determine the concept and essence of this category. The liberal education system is distinguished by an individual study plan that offers students the greatest possible freedom of choice combining the breadth of disciplinary coverage with the depth of study of the subject (Delbanco 15). The methodology of liberal education is based on the idea of education as a creative process. The main goal of liberal education is to develop the unique individuality of each person, as well as to help with the choice of one’s major subject. Teaching in small groups, an interdisciplinary approach, a dialogical form of conducting classes, a principle of constructing a curriculum, an independent formulation of a studying plan by the student are typical characteristics of liberal education (Delbanco). Consequently, liberal education does not exclusively engage in the training of certain professional skills. Moreover, from the perspective of this approach, education and obtaining a profession is not necessarily the same thing (Putting Liberal Education in Perspective: Ria Mirchandani at TEDxBrownUniversity). Liberal education necessarily includes the typical function of education, that is, the formation of a full-fledged personality. That is why, my university education gives me much more skills and knowledge of civic life and my place in the community than just an idea of my future profession.
Today, education is unquestionably considered to be an important life strategy, since the society is in need of a person with the fundamental knowledge and practical skills who has a high level of creative and analytical thinking along with the capability of creative self-organization. Hence, the majority of young people are sure that in order to achieve a high social and professional status in society and success solid knowledge is required (Putting Liberal Education in Perspective: Ria Mirchandani at TEDxBrownUniversity). However, the activity of the individual, which plays a significant role in the formulation of one’s life strategy, is often directed only towards material development. For this reason, the spiritual development of the person is relegated to the background, which adversely affects not only the state of this individual but also the whole society (David Foster Wallace Transcript). The liberal education that I get in my university involves learning professional skills as well as the formation of common understanding of my purpose and role in society, which contributes to the advancement of responsible global citizenship. That is why, I am convinced of the value of liberal education that I receive at the university.
I believe that human life can proceed both as a spontaneous and a conscious creatively directed process. However, only reasonable projecting of one’s life can be a factor in the growth and success of a person. The effectiveness of the life strategy implementation largely depends on the social activity of the individual, along with the acceptance and recognition of personal responsibility for life. In this light, the liberal education teaches me how to assure sustainability in my future by outlining own strategy. I think it is possible to distinguish two groups of life strategies based on the predominance of internal and external aspirations. External aspirations, the assessment of which depends on other people, are grounded on such values as material well-being and social recognition (Cronon). Internal aspirations are associated with the values of personal growth, affection and service to the society (Cronon). I strongly believe that liberal education is forming both external and internal aspirations within my life experience.
Moreover, due to liberal education, I was able to determine my life values and choose the university majors as part of the future development strategy. Identification of life strategies involves taking into account both the external factors that affect changes in the life of young people and internal factors, which are presented in the form of life plans and value orientations. Therefore, in the modern conditions, there is a need for the constant generation of new ideas for self-development (Putting Liberal Education in Perspective: Ria Mirchandani at TEDxBrownUniversity). I reckon that the preservation and advancement of the country and society around the globe depend on the life strategy. In striving for self-realization, I need to keep in mind the innovative dynamics of society, which requires the improvement of various kinds of soft abilities such as communication skills, listening, and empathy. Thus, I am convinced that the concept of liberal education ensures the formation of these soft skills in the best way. For example, as part of my education, I learned a critical analysis of events, productive dialogue, as well as respect and tolerance for other cultures as part of the cultural awareness concept. I am certain that these skills will help me cope with complexity, diversion and variability of the modern world. I also realize that by developing the provided skills I contribute to the society and global responsible citizenship.
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Furthermore, in the current discussions about liberal education, the notion of critical thinking is increasingly mentioned. It is obvious that the main goal of liberal education is to formulate students’ critical approach to learning, develop the necessary skills to independently determine what to learn, and, most importantly, why to learn (David Foster Wallace Transcript). Critical thinking is the ability to find own vision, form personal opinion on a problematic issue that will differ from the conceptions that have already been expressed in the literature (David Foster Wallace Transcript). Hence, liberal education stimulates me for innovation and openness to new ideas. Although I have only started to acquire similar skills, I am sure that in the future they will help me to effectively compete in the labor market and work for the benefit of the public.
The intellect sharpened by critical thinking is able to adequately perceive and capture the problems of modern society and successes or shortcomings of social policies, as well as to master the so-called “culture of differences”, that is, the ability to lead a discussion and constructive dialogue, which is an integral part of a healthy social climate in the community (Putting Liberal Education in Perspective: Ria Mirchandani at TEDxBrownUniversity, n.d.). The sense of individual responsibility promotes the development of critical views, while self-realization leads to the strengthening of one’s social role. Thus, to date liberal education encouraged me to form the individual position concerning my role in society. Moreover, liberal education generated interest in the subject, the desire to achieve the highest possible scores, a sense of accountability for the process of acquiring knowledge. In turn, these factors contribute to my education in terms of work ethics, help to learn as well as define personal goals and objectives thereby facilitating better understanding of the importance of education in my life. That is why, I am convinced of the significance of liberal education not only in the context of learning but also as an important life experience for every young person.
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In conclusion, liberal education is crucial for responsible global citizenship because it provides necessary knowledge and professional skills, as well as creates sustainable attitude towards one’s civic life. Liberal education involves the creation of an individual training plan that combines the improvement of software skills with the competencies of a particular profession. The goal of liberal education is the establishment of one’s individuality based on the synthesis of his/her internal and external aspirations. The liberal education that I receive at the university helped me to determine the main values of the professional field and to highlight the strategy of potential social development. Therefore, by means of liberal education I consider myself ready for civil life due to the formation of cultural awareness and sustainable views for my future.