The Purpose of Education

The Purpose of Education

What is the actual purpose of education? This question demands us to ruminate upon the years of structured learning and testing that bestows us with the stature of being 'Educated'.

The discourse on the purpose of education never seems to terminate. An ensuing question that follows is that ‘Should people become educated to gain capabilities for entering the workforce, or should they be nurtured towards becoming responsible citizens through social, economic, cultural and intellectual development?’. Eleanor Roosevelt once quoted in a 1930 article, "Good Citizenship: The Purpose of Education".

Another prevalent question that comes up in the minds of students is that ‘Why am I learning to solve such complicated and tricky mathematical/scientific problems that will be of slight use in real life?’. The answer is fairly simple. Apart from the substantial usage of such problems in mathematical and scientific discoveries, the main purpose of having such problems is to strengthen one’s mind to enhance/expand skills such as mental, numerical, analytical so that they are well placed to face any challenge of life hands-on.

The most acknowledged purpose of education has been to direct people towards the full realization of human intellect and its capabilities. In the present day, the purpose of education has reformed from that of producing a literate society to that of producing a learning society. Let’s take a look at some of the Key objectives of Education:

  • To prepare children to be good citizens of the society.
  • To produce Critical thinkers.
  • To develop the ability to distinguish between ‘What is right and What is wrong’, ‘What is just and What is unjust’ & ‘What is immoral and What is moral’.
  • To enhance the capability to solve day-to-day life problems.
  • To eradicate the ill-beliefs of society.
  • To cultivate a skilled workforce.

In true sense, Education sets the Foundation for achieving Success in any sphere of life. It develops individuals into prolific citizens who use their knowledge, talent and learned skills to sustain themselves while pushing the human race forward in areas of equality, justness and harmony.

Famous psychologists suggest that Education should not only teach children civic knowledge but it should also inculcate civic skills, which include respecting others, sensitive towards environment, fellow beings, flora & fauna, working in collaboration, conducting oneself in a way that is fair and being a responsible participant of the community.

Education helps us unfold the hidden layers of our being through the realization our potential and talents. It helps us tap into latent talent, so that we can sharpen our skills. It helps the world to produce marvelous scientists that innovate and produce futuristic novelties.

On the surface level, education is much regarded as a medium to gain sufficient academic qualification to get suitable employment at a later stage. As one moves ahead on the path of learning, their remuneration or salary becomes their market value based on the education level and background. For instance, an IIT Graduate is more likely to be offered a higher salary package than any other engineering graduate from other Indian Universities.

We must bear in our minds that, "those who amass enough education, steer the path of development and progress for their country". It is these individuals who become teachers, scientists, inventors, welfare activists, soldiers and politicians who work together as the backbone of society.

As famously quoted by Swami Vivekananda, ‘’ Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man. Like fire in a piece of flint, knowledge exists in the mind. Suggestion is the friction; which brings it out".

This evokes that the purpose of education is only limited to the amount of knowledge our minds accumulate !