The liberal arts is often a tough credential to come by for the educated elite in India.
In 2016, just 2.5% of all students in the country were awarded a liberal arts degree, according to the National Council for Research on Postgraduate Education (NCREPE), a nonprofit research organisation based in New Delhi.
This was the lowest share of graduates in India since 2001, when the NCREPE started tracking the numbers.
But liberal arts graduates have made up a sizeable share of students studying for higher education in India, with more than a quarter of them studying at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), according to NCREEP data.
The University of Mumbai, the country’s third largest, has the highest number of graduates of any university, with 16.5%, followed by Jawahars College of Engineering and Technology (JCT), which has 18.5%.
The government has not taken much notice of this growth in the liberal arts, according the Jawahs president, Prof Gaurav Kaul.
“There is no change in policy or curriculum on the part of the government in this regard,” he said.
“The students have been told, there is no need for a liberal-arts degree.
There are no changes in the curriculum.”
However, it is not just the students who have become the new face of the Indian liberal arts education system.
In 2015, India ranked as the second worst country for liberal-art degrees in terms of enrolment, with 1.8% of its students attending university, according a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
This number was down from 8.1% in 2011.
According to the latest data from the Higher Education Statistics Board of India (HESBI), the average college student who holds a liberal studies degree in India now earns about Rs 2,500 ($2,900) a month.
The average income for a bachelor degree in the state of Kerala is Rs 1,700 a month, according TOI data.
But, many people have doubts about whether these numbers accurately reflect the quality of the education they receive.
“I am not sure whether it is good for education,” said Praveen Singh, a 23-year-old graduate from the Indian Institute of Science, who attended the University of Madras in Mumbai.
“I don’t understand why we should be giving degrees that are not suited to our socio-economic condition.”
The problem is not limited to higher education.
Students of all disciplines, especially those who are in the business, have to worry about the quality and price of their education.
When it comes to the higher education system, the number of degrees is declining.
In 2018, the NCRPE reported that the number had fallen by 5.4% in India from 1.2 million in 2015.
It was the second lowest figure of any country in terms, according its report, with only the United States falling by 3.4%.
However, this is not to say that there is not a need for liberal studies in the future.
The NCREP says that there are about 8 million students pursuing a liberal study degree in 20 countries.
In 2020, there were 9.4 million students completing liberal studies.
More than half of the graduates in the Indian college system go into higher education for a year or more, but many say that they can only get one-year degrees, as many universities do not offer full-time placements.
The NCREE has urged universities to provide a full-day liberal studies programme to students, but the government has so far not been open to making this compulsory.
Many students believe that the government’s approach is not responsive to the needs of their parents.
“It seems that they are looking for some kind of shortcut to get them to go to higher studies,” said Ayesha Bhatt, a 26-year old who completed her studies in JNU in 2015 after completing her studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in New York.
“There is an increasing gap between the income of the parents and the money that parents spend on the education of their children.”
According the government, the aim is to create a country that offers a high-quality education for all.
However, for the graduates, there are serious doubts about the government taking action.
“The government does not seem to care about the education and quality of our education,” Bhatt said.
While the NCREEEP data does not capture the students in India who are getting degrees from the top universities, the NCCREE data shows that in India there are more than 2,000 graduates of liberal studies from these universities.
One such graduate is Gautam Bhatia, a 22-year student who studied at Jawahar College of Science and Technology in Mumbai in 2017.
He has since moved to Chennai, where he