The word education is derived from the Latin word ‘Educatum’ composed of ‘E’ and ‘Duco’. ‘E’ implies a progress from inward to outward and ‘Duco’ means developing or progressing. Literally education means “progress from inside to outside or the process of becoming developed”. Thus it is a process of developing inner abilities and powers of an individual.
The term is also often connected with the Latin word ‘Educere’ meaning ‘to rear’ or ‘bring up’. It is thus a process of bringing up to a positive change by practice for the betterment of an individual.
The term Education has a very wide connotation and makes it very difficult to set a precise decision. A scientist, priest, philosopher, teacher and even a vendor may be able to define education according to their perceptions and visions developed from their circumstances and experiences. The reasons that make the different definitions are followed.
Each human being is unique in social, physical, spiritual, moral, aesthetic, and intellectual aspects. Emphasis on one or several aspects leads to unique definitions. A socialist emphasizes the socialization aspect of education while the moralist defines it as a mean to the character formation.
Education is a process of enabling the individual to adjust with his social, aesthetic, physical, moral, spiritual and intellectual environment. Depending the level of emphasis on different aspects of the environment, education can be defined differently.
Each person looks differently at life and perceives it differently. The philosophy of life is different to different person. Different philosophers have defined education according to their philosophy of life.
The life experience makes man rich in several ways. It enables the man to perceive things differently, to think and act differently and to solve problems differently. People who have gone through different life experiences may define education differently.
According to idealists, the aim of life is spiritual development. As such, they regard education as a spiritual process, which aims at bringing together the soul and the creator leading to self realization. Pragmatists think of education as a process of social progress.
DEFINITIONS OF EDUCATION
Since time immemorial, education has been seen as the right road to progress and prosperity. Different educationists’ thoughts from both eastern and western sides have explained the term ‘education’ according to the need of the hour.
While the Indian thinkers want to street on spiritualism and perennial truth, the Western philosophers differ in their meaning according to the need and convenience of the circumstances.
Meaning of Education in the West:
Meaning of Education in India:
Though the definitions of education in the west and India, ancient and modern, varied in its form, there are several common characteristics in all and that can be synthesized. Let us examine the synthesized meaning of Education.
The process of education continues from birth to death. It is the process of development from infancy to maturity. Madam Paul Richard has pointed out “the education of man should begin at his very birth and it is to continue the whole length of his life”.
Education is the process of enabling the person to react to a situation in an acceptable way. It is a systematic approach of changing the behaviour.
Dr. Johnson says, “Education made the mind; if the mind is the man, it is education which makes the man, a good man or a bad man according to its contact, its nature and its methods.”
The literal meaning of ‘education;’ itself is ‘to lead out’ or ‘bring forth’ that which lives in the human being. So education is the process of nourishing the unique possibilities of individual by unfolding the hidden abilities in his soul. Aurbindo said “the chief aim of education should be to help the growing soul to draw out that in itself which is best and make it perfect for a noble use”.
Education is the training given to a person for leading a mature life by developing the power of reasoning and judgement. It makes him able to face several problems he may have to face at home, community and the world.
Education should be formulated according to the individual differences, i.e. based on child psychology. Child psychology deals not only with how children grow physically, but with their mental, emotional and social development as well.
Gandhi said “I value individual freedom, but you must not forget that man is essentially a social being. He has risen to his present status by learning to adjust his individuality to the requirements of social progress”. Thus education has both individual and social aims. If the individual is properly developed, it leads to the prosperity of the society. Greek philosopher Aristotle said “the man who does not live in the society is either a God or Beast”
Education is the overall development, physical, mental, spiritual, individual as well as social. “By education I mean all round drawing out of the best in the child and man- body, mind and spirit” Gandhi says. The overall development is the state of self realization.
Education is not a static but a dynamic process which develops the child according to changing situations and times. It always induces the individual towards progress. It reconstructs the society according to the changing needs of the time and place of the society.
It refers to the transaction of its activities through a systematic institution and regulation.
Every individual has some goal in his life. Education continues in the attainment of that goal. There is a definite purpose underlined in all educational activities.
Human senses, mind, behaviour, activities and skills are trained in a constructive and socially desirable way.
It directs and instructs an individual to fulfill his desires and needs of exaltation of his whole personality.
Reference: ‘Education: Philosophy, Sociology and Economics’, Edited by Naseerali M.K., 2nd Edition, 2014.