If you ask a student what is the purpose of education, you will get a variety of answers. Some will say to get into a college so that they can get a good job. Others will say to learn. A few will even say to torture them. This makes some people wonder, is there a true purpose to education? The purpose of education is to open our minds to new ideas and concepts as well as to examine and reevaluate the social norms; yet, because thinking can lead to changes in society, upholders of custom view thinking as a threat.
Sociology of education says that education is perceived as a place where children can develop according to their unique needs and potential. It is also perceived as one of the best means of achieving greater social equality. Similarly meritocracy states that the purpose of education should be to develop every individual to their full potential, give them a chance to achieve as much in life as their natural abilities allow. So basically, education should be the basic block in not only building an individual’s abilities and potentials but it should also ensure social equality as it produces mind sets of the individuals inhabiting a particular society.
But is that really happening in Pakistani society? Pakistan is a country in which education is the basic cause of perpetuating conflict and social inequality. Various education systems prevailing simultaneously in a single society can only lead to a state of disproportion within. Knowledge should be the utmost purpose of education. As observed in Pakistani society, education has become a race and to win this race, cramming is seen to be more opted than knowledge-based education.
I worked for a month in a local academy where my duty was literally making students to cram their lessons so that they won’t be getting bad marks in their school tests. There was no deliverance of knowledge; children even didn’t know what they were actually ‘learning’. This type of education cannot create ruling minds and individuals keep on following suits blindly! Another purpose in my opinion, which is also inter related with the previous one, is to make individuals AWARE.
Until or unless the cramming system is demolished, until or unless the children are not aware of what they are seeking through education, the educational purpose remains open to question. Speaking skills, confidence, dressing and vast knowledge shape an individual’s entire personality. And collectively this is called grooming. Grooming is a factor that gives individual an attribute of being educated, apparently, in a glance. Grooming is an essential purpose of education as it makes people impressive either when on an interview for a job or having a debate session.
If a person holding an MPhil degree is not sufficiently groomed i.e. he is unable to talk in front of a crowd or don’t know how to dress up and didn’t have knowledge to counter a debate, cannot be considered an educated person. Coming up towards the social and economic need of education, it is essential to live a reputable life and to afford the basic necessities. In this era of inflation, to run a family and to maintain a good living standard, degree is important as it is required in every other organization when you go to pursue a job.
Simply you can say that it is difficult for an illiterate person to earn sufficient enough for his family, as compared to the one who has a degree in some field. Education is supposed to teach a generation of people to help them become productive members of society. If you would not do this, other countries are going to start beating your country and the economy will fail as a result. Part of education is learning how to think and how to learn.
This is part of making adult decisions, and even though schools do not teach morality in a street-worthy manner, they do show children how to learn about morality and make correct decisions based on the mistakes of others. On the other hand it is essential to let a child chose a field according to his area of interest. In our society, the pressure on boys to run a family compels them to opt for fields such as medicine, engineering or management even if they are interested in fields like art, photography or fashion designing.
This creates chaos within one’s mind as he cannot work in that field wholeheartedly thus the person remains unsuccessful. So, education should be well directed so that it could be fruitful. “The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows,” (Sydney J. Harris). Education is meant to open our minds to be accepting towards new ideas. It is meant to make people examine and reevaluate the world’s universal truths. Yet this way of thinking towards the new and the unknown frightens people into thinking their ideas will be unraveled. All in all, education is meant to open our minds to the world around us.