What are the main aims of education?

Education is a purposeful activity. By education, we intend to bring certain desirable changes in the students. Education is a conscious effort and, as such, it has definite aims and objectives. Education without aim is like a boat without its rudder. Aims give direction to activity. The absence of an aim in education makes it a blind alley. The aims of education have changed from age to age and thus it is dynamic because the aims of life are dynamic.

1. Vocational

The vocational aim is also known as “the utilitarian aim or the bread and butter aim.” The above stated ideals of education are useless unless these aims enable us to procure the primary needs of our life- food, shelter and clothing. Education must help the child to earn his livelihood. Education, therefore, must prepare the child for some future profession or vacation or trade. The vocational aim is a narrow aim of education. Therefore, the vocational aim is not a complete aim by itself.

2. Knowledge and Information

Educationists who hold the knowledge or information aim of education justify their stand with powerful arguments. They argue that knowledge is indispensable for all right action and it is the source of all power. “It is knowledge which makes a realist a visionary successful in any profession.

3. Cultural

The cultural aim of education has been suggested to supplement the narrow view of knowledge aim. The cultural aim of education is no doubt a nice aim as it produces men of culture. But it is ambiguous and has too many meanings. It cannot serve as the major aim of education.

4. Moral

Character is the cream of life and, as such, it should be the aim of education. Vivekananda and Gandhi both emphasized character building in education. Character formation or moral education is concerned with the whole conduct of man. The Secondary Education Commission (1951-52) has rightly remarked: “character education has to be visualized not in a social vacuum but with reference to contemporary socio-economic and political situation.” Therefore, we can conclude that only character building cannot be the aim of education.

5. Spiritual

The idealist thinkers have opined that the spiritual development of an individual should be the supreme aim of education. Mahatma Gandhi has attached great importance to spiritual vales in education.

6. Adjustment

Adjustment is the primary rule of human life. Without adjustment to environment none can survive. Life is a struggle for adjustment. In the words of Horney: “Education should be man’s adjustment to his nature, to his fellows and to the ultimate nature of the cosmos.

7. Leisure

“Free and unoccupied time” of an individual is generally known as leisure. It is a time when we can use it in a creative way. During leisure we can pursue an activity for own sake and not for earning a living, which is dull and monotonous. During leisure we can also regain our lost energy and enthusiasm. Leisure can make our life dynamic and charming.

8. Citizenship Training

A citizen has to perform multifarious civic duties and responsibilities. Children should be so trained by education that they can successfully discharge their various civic duties and responsibilities. The Secondary Education Commission in India (1951-1952) has greatly emphasized citizenship training in schools. Such training includes the development of certain qualities to character such as clear thinking, clearness in speech and writing, art of community living, co-operation, toleration, sense of patriotism and sense of world citizenship.

9. Complete Living

Some educationists have insisted upon the need of an all-comprehensive aim of education. This viewpoint has led to the development of two aims- “the complete living aim” and the “harmonious development aim.” According to Horney “there is no one final aim, subordinating all lesser aims to itself… There is something in all these aims but not everything in any one of them.”

10. Harmonious Development

Educationists are of the opinion that all the powers and capacities inherited by a child should be developed harmoniously and simultaneously. Gandhiji is a strong advocate of the harmonious development

11. Social Aim

From the above discussion it is clearly evident that no individual can live and grow without social context. Individual life became unbearable to man and that is why he formed society. Individual security and welfare depend on the society. Individual improvement is conditioned by social progress. Education should make each individual socially efficient. A socially efficient individual is able to earn his livelihood.

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