Roles of Commerce and Humanities Degrees

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‘The purpose of education : The separate roles that Humanities and Commerce degrees play.’

The purpose of education in our day and age differs for each human being. How one utilizes and expands ones knowledge depends on the person. The purpose for learning also varies among individuals, who learn for different reasons. Some people learn so that they may have a greater understanding of their world and environment, while others learn for enjoyment and pleasure. There are also some who educate themselves in order to obtain certain careers which will put them in roles that they believe they can perform best. In the article ‘Definition of Education’, Don Berg says “The proper definition of education is the process of becoming an educated person” (Berg, 2011). Learning is a lifelong process and does not always occur consciously. Education is a privilege, and those fortunate enough to receive one typically start from a young age. At this starting point, education is normally laid out very simply and a basic platform is implemented for subjects such as Mathematics, English and Science. Over consecutive years of schooling, the subject matter is elaborated and expanded on. However, it is only once an average of 12 years has passed that one could move onto specialized studies. In this essay, the nature and purpose of two undergraduate degrees will be discussed as well as the different benefits and outcomes of the courses. The two general degrees to be discussed are Humanities and Commerce.

An individual cannot normally compartmentalize their lives so that their life and career are separate from one another and therefore it is not useful to refer to them as separate entities. In most cases, a career can be life defining as it can consume much time and energy, and therefore can determine the way in which a person lives. A career is also responsible for providing an income which may determine standards of living unless inheritance or wealthy life partners are involved and considered. A distinction between preparing students for life and career therefore needs to be considered when furthering their education. It is the role of the tertiary institution to which students enroll to take responsibility for this. To the best of the institutions ability, courses should be designed so that students can achieve knowledge about what is expected of them in the career they will move into, as well as attempt to educate them to some of the challenges life will present. Students should be able to graduate with the ability to cope in their future careers and also know how to deal with emotional and psychological challenges that their career and lives may have in store for them. ‘Business Curricula Need a Strong Dose of the Liberal Arts, Scholars Say’, an article written by David Glenn, points out that the traditional commerce degrees often focus entirely on the students career outcome and forgo educating learners about valuable life lessons. While this type of course may provide very efficient workers, students lack “the depth they need to be morally engaged citizens and intellectually agile” socially and in the workplace (Sullivan, 2010).

In the article ‘Diary of life and strategy inside and outside university’, Ferdinand von Prondzynski mentions the new committee established by Stanford University in California, which has recently decided to review “the pedagogy of higher education, rather than its structures” (Prondzynski, 2011). This means that an increased effort is going into creating courses which balance the outcomes of the degrees so that a graduate has been taught to cope with both their lives and career. The committee goal is to take into account the “growing social, political, economic and ecological interconnectedness of the world” (Prondzynski, 2011) and how this affects an individual’s role in their career and life. The aim is to identify factors which should be included in the education of students so that they...
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