Republic and Education: Plato's Ideas

Plato was the most famous Greek philosopher. He was born in Athens, in a noble family. He was the student of the great thinker Socrates and the teacher of the Aristotle. Plato wrote a very famous book “Republic”. Rousseau as cited in (Khalid, 1996.p.43) States that, if you wish to know what is meant by public education read Plato’s Republic. He discussed in his book how education should be given to the children. But he did not pay any attention for his work in Athens. So he went to Sicily where he lived for twelve years. After twelve years he came back to the Athens and started his school as an “Academy”. It was a time when new philosophical thought was developed and new educational practice was evolved.
According to Plato the aim of education is to develop the awareness of both the individual and society. Education should mean at developing this wisdom for ideas in the individuals in whom the ability exists and should plan and direct each individual through the guidance of philosopher for the performance of those duties which by nature he is most fixed to perform. In the ‘law’ Plato repeats that “education is the first and fairest thing that the best of men can ever have”
In his book VI Plato discussed about the justice and as well he described three types of people.
Ø  First there are the people who always look for money they are the ordinary people.
Ø  Second type of people is those who look for honour they are warriors.
Ø  Third type of the people who look for the knowledge they are philosophers and maintaining the justice. Worrier should control the ordinary people and to control the law and to control both the types of people, philosophers must look after the laws.
In book VII Socrates continues efforts to complete representation of the good. He describes human nature in both of its states:
Ø  The educated
Ø  The uneducated

Book VII of the republic in related to the education. He asks his audience to imagine a cave with prisoners in it. Socrates describes a dark scene. A group of people have lived in a deep cave since birth, never seeing the light of day. These people are bound so that they cannot look to either side or behind them, but only straight ahead. Behind them is a fire, and behind the fire is a partial wall. On top of the wall are various statues, which are manipulated by another group of people, lying out of sight behind the partial wall. Because of the fire, the statues cast shadows across the wall that the prisoners are facing. The prisoners watch the stories that these shadows play out, and because these shadows are all they ever get to see, they believe them to be the most real things in the world. The people in the cave show the people with the limited knowledge. Then one of the man was able to escaped from the cave first he saw the fire his eyes felt pain he gradually adjusted then he went outside the cave  he saw the other things and the light of the sun again his eye were in pain. When he went back to the cave he could not see so his fellow men considered him blind. The man who went out of the cave to see the things is like a man who gain knowledge and sun represents the truth. So when they talk to one another about “men,” “women,” “trees,” or “horses,” they are referring to these shadows. These prisoners represent the lowest stage on the line—imagination.
If one of the prisoners would be allowed to see the fire and light, at first he would be blinded. Then afterwards, as the things passing out he must be confused and believe that shadows are truer then the reality. If he went back to the cave then darkness would fill his eyes, and may he would not be able to make the shadows as he experienced. Now his fellow prisoners would believe that his eyes were cleaned out, and they would want to kill the person who was trying to make them go into the sunlight.
As revealed by the story of the man from the cave confusion was the movement from darkness to light and from light to darkness. The same could be happen to the soul and people may not laugh at other when they see them confused by things in life.
It is clear that uneducated people with no experience of truth, as well people who finish their education will never rule. Then he said that people should be given four types of education.
1.      Physical education
2.      Poetry
3.      Mathematics
4.      Astronomy
5.      Harmonies
The education that they are looking for must be useful for warriors. Early education relate with the sports because sports and games are essential for physical and mental growth of the child. Mathematics is also very important education of the child according to Plato everything is always take place in numbers. He emphasised on two fields that is geometry and astronomy they move on to examine whether geometry would be beneficial to the soul or not. After the age of thirty the person selected for the dialectic. They get more education for five years and at last they must rule the city and their duty is to educate the other people. Now the discussion will be on type of people who to be taught these things. First one should learn and must to be good in it. Then selected people will be honour to prove their abilities.
So, dialectics is must as they must engage in it for twice when they engaged in physical education. Then they will rule in the military offices of the young and had experienced. When they will about fifty then they must be taken to see the light and spend their lives by ruling the city. As education makes individual good and good men conquer the battle and education gives the victory. Then Plato find in the life of man intellectual rules the desires by control their action, soldier’s virtue is honour and industrial people dedicated for trade and making for money. According to him education should be in different stages and each stage has their on importance and qualities and the same importance of education for women.  Women should get the same training in music and gymnastic as well in the art and war like men. Moreover education must be provided according to the abilities and qualities of the students.
When their turn comes to rule, however, they must do it because it is necessary, and not because it is beautiful, and keeping in mind that they must constantly educate those younger than them so that they may rule one day.
Socrates adds that this could all be possible if the current ruler sends everyone in the city older than ten out to the farms and takes over the children, raising them as discussed.This is the theory which was presented by Plato.    
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               SUBMITTED BY UZMA DAVID                                                                                                  B.ED STUDENT                                                                                                                                                   



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