This post goes out to all the people who think that ARTS degrees are of no value. For the Information of you guys, I will tell you of the subjects that I have to follow this semester, and had to follow last semester. I'm doing Sociology, Management and Western Classical Culture(WCC) as main subjects and apart from them we have follow two foundation courses per the requirements of the university(I'm referring to the faculty of Arts in Peradeniya University)
For Sociology, we had to study all sorts of theories and introductions to the subject and this term, we are dealing with Sri Lankan Society from Vijaya to the modern period.(well some thing similar to the O/L history part but more in detail)
For Management, we had to learn about the theories and the four major functions of Management, planning, organizing, leading and controlling and this time, we have to Accounting with a nice young lecturer
For WCC the syllabus for this term can be found here and for the last term, we had to do Odyssey and Argonautica. Yes, two big books
For the foundation Courses, we had to do Maths and Writing Skills and Computer last term. Now I must tell you something of these three subjects.
Maths was hard because apparently, it used to have elements from the the syllabus of the Engineering guys at UoM.
Writing skills was harder because, we had to write research papers and critical arguments just after setting the foot in to the university.
Computer was hard because it was soooo hard to find a free computer in our lab.(other than that, for me, it was OK. I do not know about others. Just the history and introduction to networking and hardware stuff. No programming at all. Instead we had some advanced work to be done with Office package)
And this term, the foundation courses include basics of the following subject areas.
Law and Ethics
Art and Aesthetic Subjects
Society and Culture
History of Science
According to Prof Desmond Mallikarachchi who had designed the course, the above subject makes a qualified undergraduate. To be called an real graduate, you should at least know basics of the other subject ares as well
Now,One question for you Engineers, Scientists, Financial Experts and Doctors....
What do you know about Art and Aesthetic? International Relationships?Society and culture? Of course, if you are exceptional engineer or a doctor, you will say yes to at least for one question. But for many, it is a “big no”.
Any way, on the contrary, the Arts graduates have the opportunity to learn something out of their subject matter, which in my idea, is a great achievement.(here in pera, we are given the chance to attend lectures in any faculty but the students hardly do it. It is another problem)
But still, in the long run, they(not Arts graduates) get jobs and a good salary while the “real graduates” sleep in the pavements.
So, the public think that doing Arts is useless. Children choose Maths and Bio science for the Advanced level examination and when they get screwed up for several times, they learn the so called useless arts subjects to get into the university. For many think, arts is the easiest of all the streams in the Advanced level. But it is not and I have the right to say so because I have experienced how it is to do English, French and Greek and Roman Civilization to get into the University.
I have deliberately put in my A/L subjects because they too belong into the category of Arts. Well but many think those subjects belong to a new category called languages. No it is not, they are same as Sinhalese,Logic and Political Science. The only difference is the medium of instruction.
However, there is a general idea among the public that doing Languages worth it than doing Arts. There is little truth hidden in the statement because the competency in English language always matter a lot in getting a job in Sri Lanka.
But knowing English itself is not enough to get a good job. You should have the knowledge in the subject matter the way the world demands. For example, learning how to draw a graph using Microsoft Word 95 is considered nothing these days.
Unfortunately, the knowledge of the students who learn in Sinhalese has ultimately fallen into that category today. I m not asking all the students to offer courses in English medium After all it is our mother tongue. But they should have a working knowledge of English so that they can apply what they learned into big companies.
And that is exactly what most of the Sinhalese Medium students lack. There are many reasons for that but I would not like to deal about them further because Prof. Shantha K. Hennayake has already done that here. ( Refer to the section on ragging)For your information, I would quote his article here.
"Students should not speak in English as it’s the "para bhasawa". (meaning not only a foreign but also oppressive). Generally the union leaders are English illiterate English."
With such practices, I wonder whether the efforts of the ELTU are fruitful. But they are doing a good job in the university. Hats off to you nice ladies and gentlemen!!
Another thing is the lack of computer knowledge. Some times, even a simple thing like formatting a USB Drive. The most common reason given by such students is their inability and the fear. There can be other reason like the ones I explained in one of my earlier posts. Anyway, such things are unforgivable at the University level. You have a computer lab where you can do anything(I mean not changing the OS, but simple things that are vital in day today's life.) So you can practice and learn, After all if we do not make use of the facilities who would?
English medium students too have this problem but at least they have English; something very very important for a good carrier like computer knowledge.
So, due to the lack of those simple two facts we ARTS students are considered to be the lower class in the hierarchy of the Faculties in Sri Lanka.
But in the reality, we are taught about the humanity so that we should have the ability understand it ,to be flexible and adopt to any situation easily. We have the best knowledge base in Sri Lanakan students; I mean, with regard to the breadth of it.
Earlier, an Arts degree was something to do with Sinhalese, Political Science and Sanskrit. But these days, the trend is changing. You have the access to many fields such as management, computing ., law and many things. (Well, I'm not talking about the private universities)
And if you have the means, doing another degree or a diploma in a private institution to is possible. But if you make the best use of University of Peradeniya, you can have an Arts degree as well as a part of the Engineering Degree(cz you can go for the lectures in the Eng fac if you wish. I do not know about the other universities)
My dear sisters and brothers who are planning to enter into the university, why don't you give a heed to these thoughts and decide your University life today it self?
After all, ARTS is not shit if you manage it properly!!
(Will talk about my point of view about this in the future)