What is Liberal Education

Liberal Education is a well-known term in Liberal Arts & Sciences education programs. However, Liberal Education is still a very vague and broad concept.

Liberal Education can be seen as an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity and change (source: aacu.org).

In the early days, Liberal Education was called septem artes liberales, which literally translates to the seven liberal arts. This was a seven-course curriculum at European Universities during the middle ages.

Liberal Education as we know it now was found in response to the changing educational landscape in Europe. The Bologna Process, at the end of the 90’s, can be seen as a starting point of the creation of a different educational system, where a group called ECOLAS wanted to focus on a well-designed undergraduate phase of higher education. The motivation for this was that this bachelor would create a pool of interdisciplinary European talents.  

Increasingly, employers are in need for graduates with certain abilities and attitudes that are supported by Liberal Education programs. According to ECOLAS, students of Liberal Education should have:

1) the capacity to understand the importance of multiple perspectives in examining and solving a problem; 2) the necessary cultural breadth of learning vital to transnational relationships; 3) acute skills in critical analysis and synthesis; 4) the ability to articulate a position accurately and persuasively; and 5) a passion for lifelong learning.

Not every Liberal Education Program focuses on the same topics or capabilities. However, all Liberal Education Programs participating in this Liberal Education Student Conference do meet the criteria set for students in a Liberal Education Program.

Although there might be a difference in our backgrounds, we hope to bring people who are open-minded and critical together during this conference to discuss our unique education system and how we can improve it together so it’ll fit our ever-changing, diverse society.

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