There should be greater multidisciplinarity in higher education: Vice prez Naidu
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday called for greater multidisciplinarity in higher education while virtually inaugurating the Moturi Satyanarayana Centre for Advanced Study in Humanities at KREA University. He stressed that several careers in the near future would require a holistic knowledge of diverse fields.
In his address at the event, Naidu remarked, “My appeal to parents is to encourage and infuse in children curiosity for arts, literature and social sciences from a young age. In a race to make it to the top national institutions of science and engineering, we are ignoring essential subjects in school such as languages and social sciences. In addition, rote learning practices will ruin the creative abilities of a child. We must rather produce engineers, doctors and scientists, who come up with innovative solutions to the challenges faced by humanity.”
Naidu called for a revival of the liberal arts and their integration with the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum. He added that exposure to arts and social sciences nurtures creativity, critical thinking, and social awareness and leads to better teamwork and communication skills among students. These qualities are in high demand in the 21st century where no sector of the economy works in a silo, he mentioned.
Naidu highlighted that India has had a culture of holistic education since ancient times, and noted that the National Education Policy 2020 further strengthens holistic education.
The Vice President lauded the efforts of colleges like IIT Bombay, which has recently introduced an interdisciplinary undergraduate course that includes liberal arts, science and engineering in one programme. He suggested that other institutions must explore providing such multidisciplinary courses.
Furthermore, Naidu emphasised the importance of updating students from the humanities background with the latest technological developments, so that they are able to effectively apply this knowledge in their research studies. “While technical institutions should integrate arts into their curriculum, students from the arts and humanities background should be given options to gain exposure to scientific disciplines such as computing, artificial intelligence and other such frontier areas. They must be abreast with the latest technological developments and skillfully apply these advances in their own research work,” he said.
Naidu suggested that such centres should encourage innovative research in social sciences by encouraging and enabling diverse voices. He suggested that scholars in the social sciences should work closely with the practitioners and policy-makers to get a better understanding of social issues.