GE builds basic knowledge

Saman Mashayekhi, Opinions Editor

As college students, we all have to finish some General Education credits to be able to transfer or graduate with a degree. As confusing as it is to why someone who is majoring in photography has to take biology classes, there is a reason behind these requirements.

These GE courses are set to ensure that every college student has the same basic understanding of major disciplines. Colleges want you to graduate with strong analytical and writing skills, plus an elementary understanding of modern society.

The main question about these classes is, how does biology class fit into my education as an art student?

“Think of all the skills you have needed for the various jobs or roles you have held in your life and eliminate all the ones tied to your major or discipline,” said Beth Smith the VP of Academic Senate for Community Colleges in California.

As annoyed as I get with these classes sometimes, I have learned some really valuable lessons from these GE classes that I use in my daily life. They do really give us a basic understanding of major concepts that allow us to communicate even though we have different educations.

According to a study by the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, a lot of the bigger colleges and universities including the Ivy League schools have started abandoning GE requirements by requiring only two or less core classes in GE rather than seven.

“This study demonstrates that the colleges have abdicated their responsibility to direct their students to the most important subjects. The result is that thousands of students are graduating with only a thin and patchy education, with enormous gaps of knowledge in fields such as history, economics and literature,” said Barry Latzer, the principal author of the study.

Though eliminating these classes can allow students to focus on their major classes better, it steals an opportunity to teach all the students the basics of life and communication.

Any of us may know how it feels to be in a room and not understand what people are talking about because we are not educated on the subject. However, having taken all my GE classes, this situation has not happened to me often because I have a basic knowledge of most stuff from mathematics to biology and art history.

I believe in the benefits of GE requirements, and think that we all should take advantage of this opportunity to learn about different disciplines, so that we are able to communicate better.