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Meaning and Nature of Education

There are a hundred definitions of Education but the one which comes closest to its core is that Education is what remains with you after you have forgotten all about you learnt at school, college or university. Education breaks all strengthens all bonds. It is the training of mind, not the stuffing of brains. It is the assimilation of ideas, not the dissemination of data. It has continued to evolve diversity and extend its reach since the dawn of human history.

EDUCATION is a process of character building, strengthening mind and expansion of intellect . According to an old Indian proverb, a man without Education is a beast without its horns or tail. He is a burden on earth and a parasite on society. The purpose of Education according to Mahatma Gandhi is to establish a Non-exploitative social and economic order. Education is a highway to the goal.

In the true Indian concept Education must free thought from all its fetters, social, economic, political, even religious and philosophical. It must remove darkness from mind replace it with light.

Dissent and verification of knowledge are the keynotes of ancient Indian education. The Guru had all the authority, yet the Shishya was given the free gift of dissent by the Guru-shishya Parampara (Teacher-Disciple Tradition). When Gautama asked his favourite disciple, Ananda, to follow his new doctrine of eight fold path and four fold truth. That human material is largely conditioned by the training and Education which it receives. It seems to me that whatever we think of defence or of food or of industry and commerce, we must take every step to see that Education is given the first priority among our national requirement.” Amartaya Sen also emphasised that the solution of all problems, be they related to the economy, development or population, lies in Education.

India has the distinction of having one of the largest elementary Education systems in the World. With more than 30 lakes teachers, the elementary Education is expanding in the country in a significant scale.

Education is a systematic process through which a child or an adult acquires knowledge, experience, skill and sound attitude. It makes an individual civilized, refined, cultured and educated. For a civilized and socialized society, education is the only means. Its goal is to make an individual perfect. Every society gives importance to Education because it is a panacea for all evils. It is the key to solve the various problems of life.

Education has been described as a process of waking up to life:

Waking up to life and its mysteries, its solvable problems and the ways to solve the problems and celebrate the mysteries of life.

Waking up to the inter-dependencies of all things, to the threat to our global village, to the power within the human race to create alternatives, to the obstacles entrenched in economic, social and political structures that prevent our waking up.

Education in the broadest sense of the term is meant to aid the human being in his/her pursuit of wholeness. Wholeness implies the harmonious development of all the potentialities God has given to a human person.

True Education is the harmonious development of the physical, mental, moral (spiritual), and social faculties, the four dimensions of life, for a life of dedicated service.

Etymological Meaning of Education

Etymologically , the word ‘Education' has been derived from different Latin words.

a)   ‘Educare'   which means   ‘to bring out'   or   ‘to nourish' .

b)   ‘Educere'   which means   ‘to lead out'   or   ‘to draw out' .

c)   ‘Educatum'   which means   ‘act of teaching' or ‘training'.

d)   ‘Educatus'   which means   ‘to bring up, rear, educate'.

e) ‘ Educatio ' which means   “a breeding, a bringing up, a rearing.”

· The Greek word   ‘pedagogy'   is sometimes used for Education.

· The most common Indian word   ‘shiksha'   is derived from the Sanskrit verbal root   ‘shas'   which means ‘ to discipline', ‘to control', ‘to instruct'   and   ‘to teach' .

· Similarly the word   ‘vidya'   is derived from Sanskrit verbal root   ‘vid' which means   ‘to know' . Vidya is thus the subject matter of knowledge. This shows that disciplining the mind and imparting knowledge where the foremost considerations in India.

Back in the 1500s, the word Education meant “the raising of children,” but it also meant “the training of animals.” While there are probably a few teachers who feel like animal trainers, education these days has come to mean either “teaching” or “the process of acquiring knowledge.”

Definitions of Education

Since time immemorial, education is estimated as the right road to progress and prosperity. Different educationists' thoughts from both Eastern and Western side have explained the term ‘education' according to the need of the hour. Various educationists have given their views on education. Some important definitions are:

1.   Mahatma Gandhi : “By Education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in man – body, mind and spirit.”

2.   Rabindranath Tagore : “Education enables the mind to find out the ultimate truth, which gives us the wealth of inner light and love and gives significance to life.”

3.   Dr. Zakir Husain : “Education is the process of the individual mind, getting to its full possible development.”

4.   Swami Vivekananda : “Education is the manifestation of divine perfection already existing in man.”

5.   Aristotle: “Education is the creation of sound mind in a sound body.”

6.   Rousseau: “Education is the child's development from within.”

7.   Herbert Spencer : “Education is complete living.”

8.   Plato : “Education is the capacity to feel pleasure and pain at the right moment.”

9.   Aristotle : “Education is the creation of a sound mind in a sound body.”

10.   Pestalozzi : “Education is natural, harmonious and progressive development of man's innate powers.”

11.   Froebel : “Education is enfoldment of what is already enfolded in the germ.”

12.   T.P. Nunn : “Education is the complete development of the individuality of the child.”

13.   John Dewey : “Education is the process of living through a continuous reconstruction   of experiences.”

14.   Indira Gandhi : “Education is a liberating force and in our age it is also a democratizing force, cutting across the barriers of caste and class, smoothing out inequalities imposed by birth and other circumstances.”

“Plants are developed by cultivation and men by Education”. This world would have been enveloped in intellectual darkness if it had not been illuminated by the light of Education. It is right to say that the story of civilization is the story of Education. Thus, Education is an integral part of human life. It is the basic condition for a development of a whole man and vital instrument for accelerating the wellbeing and prosperity by the light of Education.

Nature of Education

As is the meaning of Education, so is its nature. It is very complex. Let us now discuss the nature of Education:

1.   Education is a life-long process:   Education is a continuous and lifelong process. It starts from the womb of the mother and continues till death. It is the process of development from infancy to maturity. It includes the effect of everything which influences human personality.

2.   Education is a systematic process:   It refers to transact its activities through a systematic institution and regulation.

3.   Education is development of individual and the society :   It is called a force for social development, which brings improvement in every aspect in the society.

4.   Education is modification of behavior:   Human behavior is modified and improved through educational process.

5.   Education is purposive:   Every individual has some goal in his life. Education contributes in attainment of that goal. There is a definite purpose underlined all Educational activities.

6.   Education is training:   Human senses, mind, behavior, activities; skills are trained in a constructive and socially desirable way.

7.   Education is instruction and direction:   It directs and instructs an individual to fulfill his desires and needs for exaltation of his whole personality.

8.   Education is life:   Life without Education is meaningless and like the life of a beast. Every aspect and incident needs education for its sound development.

9.   Education is continuous reconstruction of our experiences:   As per the definition of John Dewey Education reconstructs and remodels our experiences towards socially desirable way.

10.   Education helps in individual adjustment:   A man is a social being. If he is not able to adjust himself in different aspects of life his personality can't remain balanced. Through the medium of education he learns to adjust himself with the friends, class fellows, parents, relations, neighbors and teachers etc.

11.   Education is balanced development:   Education is concerned with the development of all faculties of the child. It performs the functions of the physical, mental, aesthetic, moral, economic, spiritual development of the individual so that the individual may get rid of his animal instincts by sublimating the same so that he becomes a civilized person.

12.   Education is a dynamic process :   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.

13.   Education is a bipolar process :   Education is a bipolar process in which one personality acts on another to modify the development of other person. The process is not only conscious but deliberate.

14.   Education is a three dimensional process:   “All Educations proceeds by participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race.” Thus it is the society which will determine the aims, contents and methods of teachings. In this way the process of Education consists of 3 poles – the teacher, the child and the society.

15.   Education as growth:   The end of growth is more growth and the end of Education is more Education. “An individual is a changing and growing personality.” The purpose of Education is to facilitate the process of his/her growth.

Therefore, the role of Education is countless for a perfect society and man. It is necessary for every society and nation to bring holistic happiness and prosperity to its individuals.

There are two Educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.