GRE Issue Essay 167
“Universities should require every student to take a variety of courses outside the student’s field of study because acquiring knowledge of various academic disciplines is the best way to become truly educated.”
It is true that one should be aware of various academic disciplines in order to expand his vision and become truly educated. One’s knowledge cannot remain restricted to one’s own field of study or else he will not be able to analyze his knowledge with respect to the happenings in other related fields. However, the decision to acquire knowledge of academic disciplines other than their fields of study should rest with the students themselves. The recommendation that students should be forced to study subjects other than their fields of study is extremely unconvincing.
Students are in universities for a short duration of time that amounts to a couple of years in which they have to acquire maximum possible knowledge about their fields of study. These students will go on to become professionals in their respective fields. Is it justified to take out time from this precious period to study subjects that will have no relevance to the career that the students plan to pursue? If someone is studying medicine, will it be justified to force him to study history? It is true that knowledge of history will definitely make him truly educated as he will be aware of historical facts which are essential for being well-informed. However, would this knowledge make such a big difference to his life that it should be made mandatory for him to study this subject that has no relevance to his field of study?
It is a well known fact that students have to appear for various tests to prove their capabilities in a particular subject. They are given admissions to various programs of study depending upon their performance in such tests. Therefore, will all students be able to study all subjects of the university level with equal ease? A student who has an aptitude for Biology may not be in a position to study Mathematics that easily. If he is forced to take a course in Mathematics, it might eventually turn out that he spends more time in studying Mathematics rather than studying Biology which is his main subject. Making the students study subjects other than their fields of study cannot be justified without assessing the aptitude of the students and their liking for the additional subjects.
It is not warranted to force an engineering student to study English literature in the time that he should have spent studying the concepts of engineering. Such an action could have serious repercussions like the student not being able to become a competent engineer as he wasted precious time during his years in the university memorizing facts that were of no relevance to his choice of career. It would be a much better option to give ample time to students in their years in the universities to learn as much as they can about their fields of study. They can choose to take up additional courses pertaining to other disciplines if they feel that they have spare time for the same. For instance, a student studying History may have additional time on his hands as he does not have to go for practical classes and therefore, he may choose to take up a course in some foreign language.
In conclusion, there is no denying the fact that gaining knowledge about various disciplines is of a great advantage as it helps you to be more learned and educated. At the same time, enforcing regulations in universities that force students to take a variety of courses outside the students’ fields of study is unwarranted as the students should be allowed to take this decision depending upon their capabilities.