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TOPIC: Discuss the nature and aims of education and evaluate how some of those aims have been revolutionized in the 21st century.

According to John Parankimalil “Education is a systematic process through which a child or an adult acquires knowledge, experiences, skills and sound attitude.” Education is important because it is the key to solve the various problems of life. Education consist of its aims and its nature which is two very important aspects of an individual learning process
The aim of education is a main aspect of education is a main aspect of education. It is formulated keeping in view the need of the situation. Human nature is multisided with multiple needs, which are related to life. Educational aims are correlated to ideals of life. According to James Ross “The aim of education is the development of valuable personality and spiritual individuality.” The true aim of education cannot be other than the highest development of the individual as a member of society. Let education burn the individual flames, feeding it with the oil of society. There are two types of aims in education which is the individual aim and social aim.

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The individual aim is known as self-expression all-around development of the child and natural development also. There are four main aims of education that were advocated by John Dewey which is social efficiency, education is life, education is experience and education should combine theory and practice. Social efficiency is the first aim of education that is as John Dewey said that school is a social institution. The school should be organized in such a way that the events of the outside world are reflected. Education takes place with the participation of the individual in social activities and relationships with his fellow human beings. Dewey holds that education is a necessity for healthy living in the society. Education bridges the gulf between the innate nature of the child and the social needs and demands. Social efficiency is formulated as aims of education in view of the changing tenor of society. This change has been brought by the application of science to the means of production and distribution, by the rise of great manufacturing centers and by the rapid growth of means of communication. The school acts as an active instrument of social change and progress. The school should include both social and individual goal. Social institutions do not give to man. They create him. Individuality is wrought out. Personality is achieved. Education is the means of social continuity and the development of individuality.

Education is life is placed as the second main aim of education. Education is not preparation for life but it is life itself. The child lives in the present. The future is meaningless to him. Hence it is absurd to expect him to do things for some future preparation. As the child lives in the present, the educative process will be naturally based on the present needs and interests of the child. The school is a miniature society facing problems similar to those faced in life. Children should be trained to participate in social life effectively. The basic purpose of the school is to train pupils in cooperative living. Since the pupils are to live in a democratic society they should help to organize one and live in it. The child is to share the resources of a good society and to give back to that society, thus helping the development of other members. By give-and-take process, the growth of the individual and the group is achieved. For, each member can develop more fully as an individual and then has more to give back to the group. The pupils confronting social problems shall create their own social order by solving the problems. The school should, thus, identify itself with social and democratic life.

Education is experience is said to be the third main aim of education. Dewey favored an education by, of and for the experience. Every new experience is education. An old experience is replaced by new experience. The human race has gained experience in its struggle to meet the needs of life. This struggle for existence is a continuous process. A conscious effort has to be made to make men more competent to take part in the events and purposes of the race. This effort is education. Education helps the process of the reconstruction of experience, giving it a more socialized value through the medium of increased individual efficiency. The democratic way of life gives an opportunity for making this effort. Education constantly reorganizes or reconstructs are a human experience. It preserves that much of the experience which is valuable and re-weaves it in the light of present needs and demands. This function of re-weaving and revitalizing the social fabric or heritage is performed through special agencies like the school. The child, who is an ever-growing individual too, takes part in this function of reconstruction. The growing child selects and re-organizes his cultural heritage according to his own needs in a changing and new world.

Education should combine theory and practice is the last main aim of education. The aim of education according to Dewey should be to create a balance between theoretical and practical activities. He has stressed the equal importance to both actions and thought. These two should go hand-in-hand. Practical side in no doubt, very important but the theoretical side, at the same time, should not be ignored. Abstract ideas should have concrete applications. Similarly, the practical application must have a theoretical basis. Theory and practice can be combined in the school through occupation. By occupations, Dewey meant various activities like wood-work and cookery. Such occupations have the necessary balance of theory and practice. Active self-expression takes place through the hands, eyes, observation, planning, and reflection. These give a new orientation to the whole personality of the child. Children, by nature, get interested in occupations. This ensures successful or true learning as interest is the basis of all real education.
As is the meaning of education so is its nature as it is very complex. There are six fundamental nature of education which involves education is a life-long process meaning 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. The nature of education also involves education being a systematic process as it refers to transact its activities through a systematic institution and regulation. Another nature of education is that education is the development of individual and society as it is called a force for social development, which brings improvement in every aspect of society. The forth nature of education is education is a modification of behavior. Human behavior is modified and improved through the educational process. Nature of educational also includes that education is purposive for every individual has some goal in his life. Education contributes to the attainment of that goal. There is a definite purpose underline all educational activities. Education is training is the sixth nature of education. Human senses, mind, behavior, activities, and skills are trained in constructive and socially desirable. The seventh nature of education is that education is instruction and direction as it directs and instructs an individual to fulfill his desires and needs for the exaltation of his who personality. The last nature of education is that education is a three-dimensional process. John Dewey has rightly remarked, “All educations proceeds by the 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 teaching. In this way, the process of education consists of three poles, the teacher, the child, and society.

A few years ago when James Callaghan then prime minister launched his great debate on education at Ruskin college Oxford where the content and aim of education became a hotly contested subject and since then the aims of education has changed. Today’s overall aim of the new curriculum is to equip citizens with skills to blend with the 21st century and hinges on the global shifts towards educational programs that encourage optimal human capital development. Education in the 21st century is now viewed in a hostile spectrum that includes schooling and the co-curriculum activities that nurture, mentor and mold the child into productive citizens. The proposed curriculum reforms are a part of system school based quality assurance, offering instructional leadership, improved the learning environment quality and cost-effective teaching materials, standard learning infrastructure, continuous professional development of education officials and teachers as well as a drive towards an inclusive education. Additionally, the reforms introduce vocational and technical education early in junior secondary schools to encourage attaining dual qualification and education as a continuum from Early Childhood Development (ECD) to tertiary level. The central focus of the reforms is how we approach teaching and learning around individuals.

Education is an important role in an individual’s life and is always needed for the fulfillment of life. Education consists of aims that were advocated by John Dewey as well as the natures of education. Learning is not the same as we know it back in the 20th century as the aims and nature was revolutionized in the 21st century but is still being the key to success in everyday life.


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