Humanities Education in Karnataka

Coordinator: Sundar Sarrukkai

Everybody seems to recognize that there is a crisis in humanities education around the world. As part of a report which I wrote for the Karnataka Knowledge Commission, I looked at the state of humanities education in the state of Karnataka, which, incidentally, is known as the science and IT capital of India. These are students who primarily enroll for the BA program across the state. The data from Karnataka actually reflect a larger trend across India – that a large number of students in the undergraduate actually take BA and related ‘arts’ programs. The figures could be anywhere from 40 to 50% of the total enrolment of undergraduates. Thus, in India, the problem is not that students are not taking up liberal arts and humanities, but the quality of these programs which range from the abysmal to mediocre with few exceptions. This note discusses ways by which we could address this problem in the State of Karnataka but might have some lessons for some others too.