The Purpose of Education
The Indian education system has effectively been in place since it was introduced by the British in the 19th century. Over the years, there are several different issues the Indian education system has dealt with, such as rote learning being the primary method of studying in schools, lack of training for educators, science being favored greatly over other broad areas of study like commerce or the arts and a huge emphasis being placed on grades alone.
The Indian government is working towards a more effective education model to overcome these problems. However, what most people do not consider enough when it comes to education is why it is such a necessary part of life. Why must students spend a significant amount of their childhood and adolescent years in school? Why must they have to learn what they learn in class? What is it preparing them for? Many times, the usual answer to such a similar question would be that education is a must for survival, getting a job and being able to earn money. While that is definitely one of the main reasons for education, what students must be taught is that, the true purpose of education is not just to be literate enough to earn money.
Education as a whole, taking all that is ever taught at all levels into account, is about humanism. Education is about being a knowledgeable person. Knowledge is power. Even if a student is an average or below-average performer in their academics, it is still not a measure of their humanistic or moral values, their intelligence or their knowledge. The purpose of education is to be a good person, who can make well-informed decisions for themselves and for others around them, and can voice their thoughts and support for the benefit of themselves and others.
It is essential for students to be taught that there is a much greater purpose behind which they attend school than only earning money. For example, when women are educated and imparted with skills that enable them to earn for themselves, they need to be taught that them being educated or literate enough is more than earning: it is about empowering them to be independent and to be individuals who can not only voice their concerns in society, but impart the knowledge they gain to others around them. The same needs to be taught to children. Informing children from a young age about the true purpose of education would not only be a step towards making their learning interesting for them, but would give them a sense of purpose. Inculcating values in students pushes them to pay it forward and further share the same knowledge with others around them.
As Aristotle said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all,”. In order to further improve the education system in India, the value and purpose of education is something that not only needs to be taught to students, but something that they need to be reminded of repeatedly, so that they may never lose sense of what they are working towards.
Trisha Ghosh, Flame University, Pune, Literary & Cultural Studies and International Studies. Intern at Navratan Foundations