The Chronicle of Higher Education has a decent report on the prospect of liberal education reform in China. Many of the issues raised deserve further discussion. I will confine myself simply to quoting here two opposing sides and where they meet in the middle.
Carol Geary Schneider, president of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, expresses a fair amount of skepticism that liberal education will sweep Asia. It’s a way of thinking, not just a “patch” to be superimposed on an existing system, she says. “It’s not just adding the humanities and stirring.”For those who find Asia’s infatuation with liberal arts misguided, this hodgepodge approach is indicative of the field’s inherent weaknesses. Sin-Ming Shaw, a Hong Kong investor and economist, who has been a visiting scholar at a number of Western universities, including Harvard and Oxford, decries the reform efforts as “me-too liberal education, American style. Pretty mindless.””I have serious doubts about the value of a liberal education, especially when no one really knows how to define what it is,” he says.
See also this older essay in Newsweek.