Education, in its literal meaning, is learning and acquiring certain skills and habits through the means of research, training and teaching from pupil to the students. Education had been highly promoted by human civilization through time immemorial. Most importantly, education is passing on of the good conducts from one generation to the next. However, in modern days education has taken more of a formal shape, which includes receiving education first in pre-schools, kindergarten, primary, secondary, high schools, colleges and universities. Also, in the present day, education is treated at par with attending various schools in different stages of life and obtaining those degree certificates. In this paper, we discuss the true essence of education, the pre-requisites of true education for the benefit of mankind and the proposed measures to promote the true essence of education.
History of Education
When we probe deeper into the history of education, we find that the norm of education started entirely to teach people certain moral conducts for the progress of human civilization. Adults used to train the young in their respective societies various skills and knowledge, which were considered to be appropriate to be passed on from one generation to the next. Much before the people became literate education system solely relied on oral communication via story telling. Eventually, formal education started taking shape and literacy was developed. However, in the recent years the purpose of education is solely correlated to obtaining degrees with higher grades, which in turn, will fetch the person a high paying job or career (Finn et al. 2005). Accordingly, the norm of education seems to lose its value in true sense.
Education and commitment to the society
In the context of formal education, in the present day scenario, education is directed to acquire certain skills by an individual, which presents the person in a position to earn money. In other words, a person acquires skills by formal education system, and then takes up a job/service, in order to provide, that service to mankind. Furthermore, in return of this service, the individual earns money. However, in the present context, business people often name selling of skills to make money. Also, the money earned is in direct correlation with the obtained grades and school quality, in terms of, formal education (Hanushek, 2005). Indeed, money is important, but not with the sole purpose of enjoying the money for own selfish motives like luxuries and extravagant comforts of life. Instead, what is important is using the money judiciously for the benefit of self, their families, extended families and ultimately the society where the individual lives. The saddest part is the predominance of individualistic societies, where there is little sense of sharing and social responsibility.
Proposition of community service after completion of formal education
" Money" can be earned by selling skills and money can be spent responsibly to benefit society. However, with the existing norm of earning formal degrees and money, most of the youngsters are left directionless regarding the spending of money. They have whimsical ways of spending, rather wasting money by drinking, partying, overindulgence in luxuries. This all leads to a vicious cycle of wastage of money, and in extreme cases, bankruptcy of the individual despite the earnings. Mostly, it is the system which is responsible for such a vicious cycle! Importantly, social responsibility needs to be inculcated in the youngsters, so that, they can realize their respective roles in maintaining a balance in the country's economy- can be termed as the true philosophy of education (Noddings, 1995). There should be a mandate by the government where every youngster after completing formal education should be brought in direct contact with the financially compromised people of that society/ country. Also, after earning a formal degree, it should be made compulsory that the person should contribute about 30% of his/her income, during the first two years of his/ her job towards beneficial social goals. Alternatively, the people should be given an option to contribute money or service for the benefit of the society. Implementing all such mandates would help in inculcating good habits in the youngsters, which will, in turn help them behave responsibly towards the society by either avoidance of socially harmful activities or involving directly in socially beneficial activities.
Human beings are thrilled by the dream of financial freedom and hence, strive to achieve this freedom by obtaining formal education. Furthermore, what the youngster is not aware is that even if he/she achieves financial freedom by virtue of his/her formal education, he/she has no right to be reckless, irresponsible and indifferent to the basic needs of the society. Accordingly, education has a vast role to shape the personality of youngsters by teaching ethical ways of spending money. This will ultimately help in shaping a healthy nation with socially responsible people.
- Finn, J. D., Gerber, S. B., Boyd-Zaharias, J. (2005). "Small classes in the early grades, academic achievement, and graduating from high school". Journal of Educational Psychology 97 (2): 214–233. doi:10.1037/0022-06126.96.36.199
- Hanushek, E.A. (2005). Economic outcomes and school quality. International Institute for Educational Planning. ISBN 978-92-803-1279-9.