Article: New Education the Current Crisis in Global

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New Education

The current crisis in global education focuses on the potential demise of Humanities in higher education. According to Pokrovskii 2007, "Looking at the general situation, it is reasonable to say that university education is shunting humanities discourse aside. Simply put, our college students come to the universities to acquire useful knowledge that will give them access to sources of capital as effectively and quickly as possible" (Pokrovskii, 2007)

An investment into a Humanities education is not seen as a great return on investment dollars. Students today exact the type of education that will pay big dividends career wise. Many see the money that business majors, notably accounting and investment finance majors receive. Additionally, many see economics as the natural course to study law or the requisite background for a Wall Street career. Students, and notably parents whom often pay for the education, contend the Humanities field as the harbinger of wealth or leading to any sort of applied knowledge that is useful in the real world operations.

Additionally, Pokrovskii recommends a course of action, "maximally develop the internal humanities and humanistic potential of the social sciences and return to these basics." (Pokrovskii, 2007) the emphasis is on the redevelopment of core critical thinking skills. The new education is central to recognizing the Humanities as the gateway to the renaissance scholar, an educated citizen that holds compassion and dignity above economic prosperity and measures of wealth.

The new education reviews the current state of the Humanities field within the framework of higher education and repositions the nature of its study to appeal and survive in during a tenuous economic climate. Amidst the face of budget reduction and program cutbacks, the Humanities field must establish a new direction and empower its students to achieve more than just having earned the degree.

Too many graduates of the Humanities major do not go onto productive lifestyles where the power of their major is established onto the social opinion of society. Graduate and professional programs such as law and medical school seek Humanities graduates due to the scope and specialization of the skills and critical thinking ability developed in these programs. Often linguists that work in the military are graduates of a program in the Humanities.

According to Phamotse & Kissack 2008, "Within general portrayals and assessments of the contemporary university, faculties of humanities (which conventionally accommodate the disciplines of philosophy, history, languages and literature, fine and dramatic arts) are often depicted as otiose, because the content of these disciplines does not make a clear and incontrovertible contribution towards the promotion of the utilitarian and instrumental reason that is at the foundation of our modern industrial society." (Phamotse & Kissack, 2008)

Kenneth Woodward further describes the state of affairs, "The greatest challenge facing humanists, the commission insists, is not to find more money or students but to demonstrate the importance of the humanities to education and society. Unlike vocational training, humanistic studies are ends in themselves; they focus on man's creations, discerning in concepts, texts and images what man is and ought to be. Throughout the system the commission sees students caught between a maze of mandated trivia and a smorgasbord of electives. In too many classrooms, skills and methods are divorced from knowledge of content and cultural context. Dismissing populist charges that the humanities are inherently elitist and ethnocentric, the report courageously defends the concept of a common Western culture and argues that the classics of that culture should be given privileged status in school curricula." (Woodward, 1980)

The new education is the attempt to reframe the Humanities for success in the current state of educational affairs. Here, in Spain, the importance of re-establishing the mission and vision of the Humanities field is critical to its ongoing pedagogy in higher education curriculums throughout the world. According to Bell 2010, "The current malaise will, one hopes, pass, and in time the emergence of new intellectual agendas will help those in the humanities defend themselves more vigorously. But humanists also need to realize that new technologies open other possibilities for the field and offer them new ways to defend and expand their vocation." (Bell, 2010)

The emergence of a more technological Humanities field is integrative with the modern higher education curriculum. Technology has pervaded essentially all major facets of educational delivery services over the past 10 years. The level of technological resources in private industry and in academia shows a level of promise for Humanities graduates that perhaps has not been evidenced in a decade. According to Bassett 2008, "Humanities education -- in so far as we continue to use the term "humanities" education with confidence -- will especially depend on our being able to combine effectively all we have learned in a poststructuralist age about our great traditions with much that was valued before about those traditions and their cultural productions, and that is one of our biggest challenges. That goal leads to some basic questions about the future of humanities education." (Bassett, 2008)

However, questions aside, the solutions to reintegrating Humanities into the higher education curriculum is through the reinvention of the discipline to fit a 21st century education. The current field of Humanities is too academic and engrained in the ivory tower model. The simple axiom of the discipline describes a lack of jobs for all graduates in the Humanities field. A focus on doctoral programs emphasized teaching in a field where there is a lack of these positions throughout the world. Assimilating the field into the social sciences along with enabling the use of technology will shape the Humanities graduate for employment in fields outside those common to the typical graduate.

According to Bassett, "can we help them (students) see that the humanities, while not increasing their understanding of the technology and economics behind the changes, can help them live with the human consequences of those changes? They live in a world where medical advances plus the economics of health care are challenging them to see human life in problematic new ways; where migration o peoples and fluidity of capital and markets are changing ways we look at identity even amid tribal warfare and religious radicalism; where new communication systems re changing what human interaction means; where family patterns are challenged and young people face dangers very different from those in the past. Have we really thought through how to connect our humanities to the biggest human issues of our new century?" (Bassett, 2008)

And such is the critical question at this juncture. Has Humanities prepared itself effectively for the transition into the 21st century? The challenges for the new education model is to convince its graduates that indeed there is a change to the potential of a degree holder. No longer will graduates possess irrelevant information non-pertinent to the dreary per diem operations in a global economy. Additionally, Humanities graduates will be made increasingly aware of the opportunities available to them in graduate and professional law, dental, and medical schools.

The fields of law, economics, and ethics notably require humanistic thinkers with the capacity to think critically about key issues that are abstract in the grey area. Highly subjective analysis is the specialization of the Humanities major. Such minds must be honed to consider solutions to issues that are more philosophical in nature than black and white, and quantitative.

According to Donoghue 2008, "The survival of the humanities in academe, however, is a different story. The humanities will have a home somewhere in 2110, but it won't be in universities. We need at least to entertain the possibility that the humanities don't need academic institutions to survive, but actually do quite well on their own." (Donoghue, 2008)

The implication is immense. Should action be ignored at this juncture, the probability of the Humanities field becoming extinct in academia and in society is quite high. Should a use not be found for the majors that underline the discipline, then a tragic loss of what defines a well-rounded and educated human will be lost as well. There must be a focus on transitioning the students from undergraduate coursework to graduate and professional schools. Scholarship and assistanceship money must be made available and Humanities students made aware of these opportunities by their university. E-mailings generated by the department to students will ensure the information gap is non-existent and enabling of students to obtain a more industry specific education with their Humanities background.

Additionally, emerging fields offer tremendous promise for Humanities graduates. Forensics in Criminal Justice is a technical field that requires critical human thinking skills and the ability to discern facts from ambiguity. These are hallmark skills of Humanities majors. Certainly, the need exists for these individuals, however, the transition to the work world is not paved in gold. Humanities departments across the world have to make connections to industry to increase the placement rates of their grads to jobs and to graduate and professional schools.

According to Donoghue, "Thus universities have had no choice but to function increasingly as corporations and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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