WHY? YOU MAY WONDER!
Many scholars and educators have had to
struggle with this same question before
my time. And, I believe, long after today
many will ask the same eternal question.
The "Purpose of Education" is simply not a
static issue, it is a dynamic goal that is
and should be changing with the progress
of humanity and technological
Early scholars and educators
pondered upon the same
Philosophers and educators as diverse as
Vyasa, Chanakya, Adi Shankara, Aristotle,
Plato, Rousseau, Mozi, and Confucius gave
their theses on the purpose of education in
their respective time and societies.
They shared many common characteristics and
principles about what it is that education's role
should be in human development. Each of
them also had their unique views on the role of
education within a given time and society.
Ancient seers and philosophers
Simplistically, the purpose of education
according to ancient seers and philosophers
is to develop good citizens who are trained to
exercise their dharma in society, whichever
functions they might end up performing.
The development of a holistic, well-versed
and skillful student begins with the right
type of teachers and environment.
For Today’s World
Today, the purpose of education is geared
towards learning specific skills, finding
employment, and making money.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be self-sufficient
and fulfill one's duties and desires. However, the
education systems today contain gaps that must be
addressed; the systems do not create a full-fledged human
The educators themselves are not equipped to train
holistic students and the environment also is not feasible
to allow the educators to adequately train the student.
Education and Time variability
Educational systems are a function of time.
The contemporary times cannot be directly
compared to ancient time. However, it is
possible to have an environment where the
students and teachers are in a near-ideal space
so that teaching and learning become smooth
and organic in nature.
According to John Dewey
“Individual Psychology and Education,” The Philosopher, 12, 1934,
“The purpose of education has always been to everyone, in essence,
the same—to give the young the things they need in order to
develop in an orderly, sequential way into members of society.
This was the purpose of the education given to a little aboriginal
in the Australian bush before the coming of the white man.
It was the purpose of the education of youth in the golden age of
It is the purpose of education today, whether this education goes
on in a one-room school in the mountains of Tennessee or in the
most advanced, progressive school in a radical community.
But to develop into a member of society in the Australian bush had
nothing in common with developing into a member of society in
ancient Greece, and still less with what is needed today.
Any education is, in its forms and methods, an outgrowth of the
needs of the society in which it exists.”
Views of Martin Luther King Jr.
Speech at Morehouse College, 1948:
“The function of education is to teach one to think
intensively and to think critically. But education
which stops with efficiency may prove the
greatest menace to society. The most dangerous
criminal may be the man (human) gifted with
reason but no morals. … We must remember that
intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus
character—that is the goal of true education.”
An opinion of Arthur W. Foshay
“The Curriculum Matrix: Transcendence and Mathematics,”
Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 1991,
“The one continuing purpose of education, since ancient times,
has been to bring people to as full a realization as possible of
what it is to be a human being.
Other statements of educational purpose have also been widely
accepted: to develop the intellect, to serve social needs, to
contribute to the economy, to create an effective workforce, to
prepare students for a job or career, to promote a particular
social or political system.
These purposes offered are undesirably limited in scope, and in
some instances, they conflict with the broad purpose I have
indicated; they imply a distorted human existence.
The broader humanistic purpose includes all of them, and goes
beyond them, for it seeks to encompass all the dimensions of
Late 20th Century’s Views
Philosopher and educator Mortimore Adler
(1982) advocated that the purpose of education
has three major components:
Individual growth or self-improvement
Development of societal membership
Professor David Tyack (1988), an educator and
historian, viewed the purpose of education as
being related to the social and economic needs.
Sociologists D. F. Labaree, K. B. deMarrais, and M. D.
LeCompte (1995) collective views can be summarized into
four major purposes of education:
1. Academic purposes such as the development of
mathematical and reading skills;
2. Economic purposes such as trade/job
3. Political purposes such as the integration of
4. Collective purposes such as the development of
societal and ethical responsibility.
Early this Century’s doctrines
Dr. Philip J. Guo, Professor of Cognitive Science, University
of California, San Diego (2010) stated,
"the main purpose of education is to strengthen your
mind so that you can more easily learn to deal with
specific challenges you will face throughout your life.
Even though you will forget most of what you learned
in school, the intense effort you spend struggling with
difficult academic material tones your mind, just like
how physical conditioning tones your body (even though
it serves almost no practical purpose)."
Kwame Anthony Appiah wrote (The New York Times
Magazine, Sept 8, 2015),
"College is about building your soul as much as your
skills. Students want to test out their ideas and ideals
in the campus community. College, in this view, is
where you hone the tools for foundational American
Project, the pursuit of happiness".
These contemporary thinkers, philosophers
and educators are unanimous with the
views of our early sages and gurus that the
development of the souls of the students is
as important if not more as building skills
of any particular trades.
WHAT DO I THINK ABOUT EDUCATION
And, how do I practice my views being in
harmony with the contemporary system
MY OBSERVATION OF MOST OF THE CURRENT
EDUCATION SYSTEMS IN PRACTICALITY
Many contemporary educational institutions,
programs, and processes, wittingly and/or
unwittingly have deviated from that cardinal
objective of education.
As a result, we have many highly skilled and
talented individuals in our society, but a very
few have acquired the Light to be bonafide
members of society.
A cumulative effect of such soul-less
education continues to affect our society with
corruption, and inhumane policy-making.
The ground rule
Information Knowledge Wisdom
** time & experience drive the process of this conversion **
Fundamentals of education are transferring wisdom that
makes an individual wholesomely human first, then impart
tools and trades of knowledge and information for that
individual to sustain his/her well-being in society.
What We think about Learning
We think that learners learn best when they teach each other.
We think that learners learn best in small groups or teams.
We think that learners learn best when they respect one
We think that learners learn best when they are expected to do
We think that learners learn best from teachers who are
We think that learners learn best when they are challenged to
think, feel, and do.
We think that learners learn best when they enjoy learning.
We think that learners learn best when they can relate learning
to their lives
Communication and Expression
Physical/Mental Wellness & Personal
Global, Cultural, Social & Environmental
Not just teach, but build souls
Teaching methodology should encourage young talent to
take on challenges to tackle social issues, and fulfill their
goals and dreams through professional growth and
Learners will receive content information; teachers will
facilitate and act like catalysts in converting that
information to knowledge for learners to use during their
academic pursuits as well as further in life.
Finally, the knowledge will churn into wisdom –the Light
of the learning. This churning process is only possible if
and when the institution and the society create
appropriate competencies and the correct environment.
Wholesome Learning Environment
No single course or an ensemble of courses can be
assigned to building an individual into a wholesome
human being. The entire institution as well as the
culture that the institution sets forth is key to achieving
the educational objective of building a soul. Failure to
achieve this goal is the fundamental failure of the
institution and the programs that the institution offers.
The wholesomeness only develops in an individual by
them being in an environment and around people who
recognize, respect, and value these qualities - a culture
and philosophy of the organization. An institution
should aspire to have that culture and environment in
both a top-down and bottom-up feedback loop.
Tools to self-discover and advance
Learners, teachers, and administrators should learn to
construct, and then ask themselves questions for self-
These questions are the essence of learning for the soul,
and acquiring theluminance of the light.
Learners should begin to ask these questions while
they are in any learning environment.
Below is an ensemble of questions that a learner may
use as a start point; and may take with them to use as a
navigator of their life-journey hereafter.
These questions are omnipotent and are applicable in
any circumstances at any time of life.
Know what you know
Know what you don’t know
Know what you don’t know
that you know
Know what you don’t know
that you don’t know
Know who you are
Know what you are
Know where you are
Know where you have been
Know where you are going
Know where you want to be
Know where you want to go
Know your value today
Know your value one year
Know your value five
Know your value ten
Know what you love
Know who you love
Know who loves you
Discovery quest through asking oneself
Here and Now
Know your favorite drink
Know your favorite snack
Know your favorite meal
Connecting the dots
Know your roots
Know your roots’ roots
Know what your roots’
Know how to express
Know when to express
Know how to accept gratitude
Ignorance & Wisdom side-by-
To know all is to know
nothing; to know nothing is to
know it all
To create a void is to create a
thunderstorm; to create a
thunderstorm is to create a
Keep going, keep going this is
the mantra. Never stopping,
and never tiring, and keep
steadfastly moving forward.
Quench your thirst
Begin your quest
Actions we should take
To help learners learn about themselves, and others ; and
tackle great questions and responses of ancient philosophical
To inspire learners to think deeply, live well, and cultivate
To foster hunger so that learners want to learn more than we
can possibly teach.
To create an environment in which we all learn together.
To leave learners feeling like they have succeeded.
To expect the best in learners and ourselves.
To help learners apply what they have learned in their lives.
Give them the flavor of Rules of Living to take with them
RULES OF LIVING
Rule 1: Incorrect thinking is the only problem in life.
Rule 2: Right knowledge is the ultimate solution to all our problems.
Rule 3: Selflessness is the only way to progress and attain prosperity.
Rule 4: Every act can be an act of hope.
Rule 5: Renounce the ego of individuality and rejoice in the Bliss of Infinity.
Rule 6: Connect to your Higher Consciousness Daily.
Rule 7: Live what you learn.
Rule 8: Never give up on yourself.
Rule 9: Value your blessings.
Rule 10: See divinity in the creation all around you.
Rule 11: Have enough of an open mind to see the Truth as it is.
Rule 12: Absorb your mind in bigger than life goals.
Rule 13: Detach from mediocrity and attach to excellence.
Rule 14: Live a lifestyle that matches your vision.
Rule 15: Give priority to the truth.
Rule 16: Being good is a reward in itself.
Rule 17: Choosing the right over the pleasant is a sign of power.
Rule 18: Let Go, lets you move to Peace and Happiness.
Let us help learners to lead themselves from darkness to Light.
Where so ever you go,
go with all your heart –
• Confucius .