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Should Students be Required to Take General Education?

By on August 3, 2013

Many college students debate whether they should be required to take general education courses in order to earn their degree. Students constantly defend their position saying, “General education courses are a waste of time and money”.

General Education

On the other hand, many other individuals believe students should be required to take general education courses because helps the students intellectually with ethical and creative capacities, expand culturally with global knowledge, and understanding and participating economically and democratically as citizens.

Big corporations where most college will end up working, seek for individuals that are with ethical and creative skills. One instance, people educated who study Shakespeare poetry or da Vinci paintings say, have cultivated to understand big concepts and apply new forms or approaches to big problems that can’t be analyzed from a conventional perspective.  Moreover, critical thinking and solving problems are essential skills in order to secure a great job at a big corporation. As Ames Shapria, the CEO of the leading cellphone provider in Israel said it, “The knowledge I use as CEO can be acquired in two weeks… the main thing a student needs to be taught is how to study and analyze things (including) history and philosophy”. Furthermore, studying general education courses not only will help you think critically and solve problems, but also it will help student spread their creative skills.

An article, published by Harvard Business Review, wrote about the subject saying, “If you want out of the box thinking, you need to free people’s inherent creativity. Humans are trained to be creative and are uniquely adapted to leading creative teams”.  There is a big example about creative capacity: Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, who openly acknowledge how studying the art of calligraphy helped him to design the Macintosh interface. Steve Jobs explained clearly at a commencement speech at Stanford University: “If I had never dropped in on that [calligraphy] course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts, and since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.” This shows how it is essential to have a well-formed education in order to succeed in your goals and aspirations in life.

Diversity in the work environment is one of our country’s fortes; therefore, students that have taken general education courses aggrandize culturally with global knowledge. Essentially, it means students can work along with co-workers with different cultural backgrounds.  People from different races, have different variety of culture and life experiences.  This influences their analysis of events and problems. If students take classes on humanity and world culture, the students will have an easy time working with people with different cultural background and might often be able to communicate in another language.

Understanding economics is essential for any individual, moreover, it should be more important for students that are educated citizen. Economic issues affects student as consumers, workers, producer, investors, and in any role they embark themselves in life. Economic literacy is extremely important for students because it helps them understand the dynamics economic world and how to interpret incidents that will indirectly or directly affect them.  George Stigler, a Nobel Prize in economics, knew how important it was for an educated person to understand economy as a whole almost three decades ago when he wrote, “The public has chosen to speak and vote on economic problems, so the only open question is how intentionally it speaks and votes”. If students are economically literate, it improves their ability to comprehend and evaluate critical issues such as to make economically and democratically logic decisions as citizens.

Conclusively, making students take required general education courses helps them tremendously in amplifying their intellectual knowledge with ethical and creative skills, developing culturally with global knowledge, and comprehending and participating economically and democratically as citizens.

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