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Liberal Education in Asia: Trends, Challenges, and Opportunities

Pericles Lewis / Katherine Rupp
Published Online: 2015-12-19 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ngs-2015-0028


In this article, we seek to establish what liberal education means in the Asia of today by examining different institutions in India, Japan, South Korea, and China. In particular, we have analyzed fourteen such programs and identified certain commonalities, as well as important differences, particularly involving governance structure. We then offer some insights gleaned from the first three years of one of the largest such undertakings, Yale-NUS College in Singapore. We conclude that partnerships with U.S. institutions offer expertise and prestige, but the spread of liberal education in Asia will also depend on change within the relatively rigid but prestigious public systems that dominate most education in the region. The curriculum should embrace the local culture but put it in conversation with broader trends both in Asia and the West. In order for these institutions to thrive, faculty and students must be free to teach, study, and conduct research on controversial subjects without political interference.

Keywords: East-Asia; liberal education; universities; South Asia


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About the article

Published Online: 2015-12-19

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Citation Information: New Global Studies, Volume 9, Issue 3, Pages 245–266, ISSN (Online) 1940-0004, ISSN (Print) 2194-6566, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ngs-2015-0028.

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