The importance of a liberal arts education in today’s global marketplace is undeniable; the ability of critical thinking, empathy toward social, demographic, economic and cultural differences, sifting through political perspectives provides the solid basis for succeeding in any profession. Prospective employers prefer those who can show ethical judgment and integrity along with the capacity for new learning. Not only does a liberal arts education encourage complex-problem solving, it also teaches how to apply those solutions to real-world issues. So, it should not shock anyone to see that educational institutes are evolving to cater to those with experience in the liberal arts.
For this reason, the decision of Aga Khan university to expand itself by adding a liberal arts department is wonderful. AKU’s success is more than evident; 30 years of instilling successful education in the fields of healthcare in Pakistan as well as spreading its influence globally by opening hospitals in countries in East Africa and the United Kingdom. The Aga Khan’s reasoning for commencing liberal arts education is based on the fact that the civil society of any conflicted country owes fellow citizens insight on enhancing and securing the quality of life. Pakistan, it is quite obvious, would do a great deal with such input.
Inter-disciplinary learning along with nurturing the skill of nuanced thinking among students and inculcating ethical values is the pressing need for all educational institutions throughout Pakistan. The Aga Khan was particularly critical of how the academia of Muslim majority countries have failed to highlight the need for liberal arts education, which only led to a void in social thinking. If anything, it should be taught at an even more primary level where young pupils can learn how to parse through cumbersome issues, instead of shying away from them, as we see rampant among youth nationally.