Crafting holistic education in the engineering curriculum as an integrated approach to learning for a balanced life
Dr. K Pramila, V Ajit
Holistic education also referred to as ‘alternative education’ focuses on preparing students to meet any challenges that they may face in life and in their academic and professional career. Engineering curriculum developers and all the stakeholders involved in the education process must realize that it is a misconception to think academic achievement and professional success alone is sufficient to lead a happy life. Modern education, has lost sight of the concept of actively cultivating the development of the whole child; his emotions, his social skills, his spiritual beliefs, his participation and contribution to the country and his role in the world in general. Engineering graduates face a very complex life with anxiety and fear about their future. Many professional bodies especially engineering educators are voicing their concerns about how engineering graduates struggle to find balance and meaning in their professional and personal lives. Proponents of changes in the engineering curriculum advocate a holistic and inclusive curriculum wherein technical subjects, science and humanities and soft skills form part of the curriculum. Holistic education helps in conceptualizing philosophical and abstract inquiries of life and also questions regarding the challenges in life and how to overcome obstacles, achieve success in both professional and personal life. Hence, holistic education allows students to evolve while they are young, as a complete individual who is equipped to face complex realities no matter what their apparent similarities or singularities are. A smooth blend of technical and non-technical, social subjects and humanities can enhance the quality of life of an engineer.