The topic which is very compelling and touching, gave me the opportunity to reflect on the importance and the value of Education in life. The words ‘Value’ and ‘Education’ seem very simple and common in daily use but a density and variety of implications can be seen on a large scale as we continue the process of learning. Its immensity richness and variedness become exciting as much as one tries to immerse oneself in it. Therefore it is quite impossible to formulate the given topic in one definition.
Education is an essential human value. Without it, man is a slave, or reasoning savage. Education humanizes us. Man becomes more human as a result education. We are what education makes us. Education plays a vital role in human life and is always guided by certain rules in harmony with certain ideals, values and standard of life. Education, by its implication, necessarily needs the direction of philosophy. Philosophy gives direction to education by providing certain guidelines (Thomas, 1968). Value literally means something precious, dear, worthwhile, something one is ready to suffer and sacrifice for (Ignacimusth, 2004). Thus philosophy and education are interrelated. “Education without philosophy is blind and philosophy without education is invalid” (Thomas, 1968). Education without philosophy is like a traveller who knows the name of the place where she wishes to go but does not know how to find the place and consequently is unable to reach the destination. According to Fichte, “the art of education will never attain complete clarity in itself without philosophy”. There is an interaction between the two and either without the other is incomplete and unserviceable. Education without values is also empty because values give direction and firmness to life and they bring to life the important dimension of meaning which adds joy, satisfaction and peace to life (Ignacimusth, 2004).
1. What is value: The word value comes from the Latin word ‘valere’ which means to be a worth, to be strong, utility and indicates importance, or degree of excellence, of something precious. Values occupy a central place in one’s life and give sense and strength to a person’s character, influences his/her thoughts, feelings and actions. Values are excellent directors and indicators for a person to do the right thing and to avoid doing what is wrong and against nature. Human Values help a person to be morally sound (Ignacimusth, 2004). Values can be classified generally in to four types:
i) Personal values refer to the desires held cherished by the individual without interaction with others.
ii) Social values relate to friends, neighbours, community, society, nation, or world.
iii) Moral and Spiritual values relate to an individual’s character and personality, and reveal a person’s self-control, self-purification and practice and knowledge of morality and spirituality.
iv) Behavioural values: refer to all good manners that are needed to make our life successful and happy (Ignacimusth, 2004).
2. What is education? It is not easy to say in this short analysis what education is, or to give a single meaning or definition of education. In every age and in every society systems of education are developed and changed according to the needs of time.
Education owes its origin to the two Latin words: i) ‘Educare’, and ‘Educere’. The word ‘educare’ means to nourish, to bring up, to raise, this means to bring a child up or nourish him/her with certain aims or ends in view.
The word ‘educere’ means to bring forth, to lead out, and to draw out, what is there already inside the child. Some educationists refer to another term ‘educo’(educate) ‘e’ ‘out of’ and ‘duco’ ‘to lead’. The term ‘educatum’ means the act of teaching and training (Bhatia, 1979). Which leads a person to the source of their own knowledge.
The views of some thinkers on education:
According to Plato “Education is the capacity to feel pleasure and pain at the right moment. It develops in the body and in the soul of the pupil all the beauty and all the perfection which he is capable of.”
Aristotle says that “Education is the creation of sound mind and a sound body…it develops man’s faculties especially his mind-so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty of which perfect happiness essentially consists.”
John Dewey defines education as “the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control his environment and fulfil his possibilities.”
Froebel: “Education is the unfoldment of what is already enfolded in the germ. It is the process through which the child makes the internal external.
According to Willmott, “Education is the apprenticeship of life.” It assumes the full burden of bringing people ‘up-to-date’ (Bhatia, 1979). Plato repeats continually that “education is the first and the fairest thing that the best of men can ever have”
“The chief task of education is above all to shape man or to guide the evolving dynamism through which man forms himself as a man” (Bhatia, 1979). This citation makes clear that man becomes man through education which is the only means to cultivate in man human qualities and characteristics. Man needs to be humanize, to become more human and civilize: for example if a man grows up in a jungle or in a forest he will experience only a harsh and instinctive way of reacting, as an animal. When he feels hungry he will go around and attack the first animal he will find even another human to satisfy his need. Animals do not have any idea of the preciousness of life of the presence of his other companion. That is why the writer says that without education man is a slave or reasoning savage. He is a slave of his own desires and needs. He is a slave of his own self; he is a slave of all the material things and behaves as animal do.
Bhatia in 1979 in his book Philosophical and sociological foundations of Education has explained that man is an animal from his passion and from his reason. He is not educated by nature but he has the qualities and potentials to be educated. Education forms him and models him for society. As Aristotle has said man is a social animal so he needs to live in society. Man’s life can only be glorified through education. Cultural or social aspects have great importance in human life. That signifies humans supreme position and as a consequence constitutes the noblest work of God.
3. Aims of education: The aim of education according to Socrates is to develop in the individual the power to think and to acquire knowledge by himself. To know himself is the human’s first duty. Socrates believes that knowledge is virtue which guides the conduct and by obtaining knowledge man lives a virtuous life (Khalid, 1976). Aristotle said that the aim of education is to bring happiness and goodness in the life of the person; this goodness consists in ‘goodness of intellect’ and ‘goodness of character; it means ‘well being’ and ‘well doing; consequently man’s highest excellence is his goodness of thought and behaviour (Khalid, 1976). According to Plato the aim of education is the welfare of both the individual and the society. Education must promote virtue because education is for the good of the individual and for the security of the state. The heart of the matter of education is man made. (Khalid, 1976).
4. Value of education: Education qualifies a human for group life and enables a person to understand higher values of life which are fundamental for him to become “roof and crown of all creation”, through the process of behaviour modification (Bhatia, 1979). Education makes a person human and distinguishes him from other animals. Through education human beings develop a sense of discrimination and acquire different values which make his life the pride of the ‘human-species’. This is the greatest phase of human life (Bhatia, 1979). Education has to do with the development of a human person, the modification of his behaviour and equips one in the art of living successfully and efficiently. As such it is an unending part of the venture of life. The concept of education is dynamic. It can never be static (Bhatia, 1979).
Education is life and life is education? How is this so? Lodge in his book “Philosophy and education” explains the nature of education in the broad sense as every thing we say, think, or do, no less than what is said or done to us by others beings, animate or inanimate. In this way life is education and education is life. Whatever broadens our horizon, deepens our insight, refines our actions, and stimulates thought and feeling; educate us (Bhatia, 1979).
5. Philosophy and education:
Philosophy gives direction to education by providing certain guide lines. It attempts to establish coherent meaning within the whole domain of thought. (For example school officials, teachers, parents, and public men are in the same boat, but all seem to lack coordination and sense of direction which cause education to be meaningless and a haphazard activity.) It is only with a philosophy of education that the school officials, teachers and even parents can coordinate their efforts towards achieving their aims.
Overall, education develops the innate power of the human person from infancy to maturity in such a way that not only can he adjust himself to his environment, but he can also control and improve it. Life is a self-renewing process (Dewey, 1966). Values are a set of principles or standards of behaviour. Values occupy a central place in human life and give it sense. Strength of a person’s character influences his thoughts, feelings and actions. Values are excellent directors and indicators for a person to do the right thing and to avoid doing what is wrong or against human nature. Value help a person to be morally sound (Ignacimusth, 2004). Education is a mean to transmit values; basic values are as essential to the character of the person as the foundation is to a building. Education is an essential human value. Without it, man is a slave, or reasoning savage. Education humanizes man. Man becomes man thanks to education. He is what education makes him. Education has great value in human life because the heart of education is in man- making (Khalid, 1976).
Bhatia, K.K., Narang, C. L. (1979). Philosophical and sociological foundations of
Education, Ludhiana: Publisher brothers.
Dewey, J. (1966). Democracy and Education, London: Collier–Macmillan.
Ignacimusth, S.J. (2004). Values for life, Bangalore: Better yourself books.
Khalid, T. (1976). Education an introduction to educational philosophy and history,
Karachi: national book foundation.
Thomas G. W. P. (1968). Introduction to Philosophy London: Novello and company.