The Fight Between Liberal Arts and STEM Majors – Pop Junctions

Also, at family dinners over the holidays, people who study the liberal arts are constantly asked about their choices since their families do not believe that their studies will help them earn a living in this society. The most common impression people have of those who study the liberal arts is that of people who can only speak but can barely act or make progress for society. Then, we can take these perspectives to understand that the criteria for determining the “best” for Chinese culture are more about seeking employment and seeking profit. But let us think critically about this question. For a country and its society to continue their development, will studying in a singular and narrow way really be enough?

Before talking about how shrinking majors can be troublesome for personal and social development, we need to know how the Chinese education system is structured. It is very different from the United States. In high school, students won’t be able to select major STEM-related courses, but stick to more traditional courses, including Chinese, math, English, chemistry, physics, biology, politics, history and geography. Then, students are separated into Liberal Arts and STEM/Science to select courses to test on Gaokao. (There are many different majors in China, such as law school and medical school, etc.; we are mainly talking about the situation with respect to liberal arts majors and STEM majors.) Then, in the Chinese college education system, the curriculum for a STEM major means that you will spend most of your time studying courses related to the major. STEM courses will include computer science, electrical engineering, data science, and more. Liberal arts courses will include sociology, psychology, literature, etc. and study on their own. In the meantime, many students don’t learn what most of their majors will be until they enter college, which can be a pain and late for many students to decide on their path. Take STEM courses as an example; in the United States, some argue that STEM courses are offered too late because they force students to cultivate their interest from an early age. Additionally, STEM courses have always focused on the winner-takes-all belief, which means they are naturally aligned with the elite culture: the “winner”, who has done a great job in the field, is congratulated. by the whole community for all he does. This conflicts with Chinese communist culture. The existence of an elite culture in the Chinese social context brings enormous challenges and unexpected problems for a student’s personal development. Students who focus primarily on STEM courses are forced to overlook studying literature and how to make personal connections; ironically, they don’t even have time to teach girls how to talk.


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