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General Objectives of Education
“Aims” “Objectives” and “Goals”
These three terms are similar in that they all describe the ends being sought, in this case for
education. However, they are different in terms of period to achieve them and the general or
specific things to be done, as the case may be.
(i)Aims:This is a statement of a general outcome or change expected in a
learner after being exposed to learning
experiences.“Aim”overallisawordthatdescribesaratherlong-term,purpose which educating the
learner is expected to serve. Aims are rather open-ended statements of goals reachable but
after along time or in a distant future. It is a general but realizablestatement of intention
of the purpose of schooling, a purpose which is expected to continue even well
after the learner has left school. Definitely, the aims of education vary from one culture to
another and the understanding of the concept of education held by the curriculum planner.
Aims therefore connote the general intentions of what the school is expected to achieve in the
learner after a period of schooling. It is therefore an umbrella terminology for describing in
general terms all of what purpose the school is supposed to serve in society with her values
and needs being included in the statement.
Examples of aims of education include:
a) To develop the individual into a sound and effective citizen;
b) To fully integrate the individual into the community.
These two examples show all the characteristics of aims of education e.g.
a) broad statement (not specific statements)
b) long term but reachable goal;
c) general intentions of what purpose society expects schools to fulfill;
d) an umbrella terminology
(ii) Objectives: Educational objectives are descriptions of an outcome of action. It is
normally expressed in behavioural terms using action verbs. Objectives are therefore more
specific than “aims” and are also more action oriented. This is to say that, while aims tend to
describe a philosophy of education, objectives specify what is intended as observable and
measurable, action- oriented statement of intention of an educational
Another way of saying this is that while aims of education are broad, general and
non-desired, objectives specify certain knowledge, skills, techniques or attitudes
There are two categories of educational objectives:
Those which describe the school-wide outcomes, usually
referred to as general objectives;
Those which described behaviours to be attained and are usually referred to as specific
objectives, (Onyike, 1985). Specific objectives are usually recognised from the
following types of question:
“What will the learners be doing at the end of a course of instruction”?)
You will have seen therefore that specific objectives are derived
from general objectives.
In general objectives, school-wide statements of what learners are expected to have
become (i.e. what general changes of behaviours are expected from learners) are expressed;
but, specific objectives is a further breakdown of what changes are expected from learners by
the end of a course of instruction which have been designed for the attainment of the general
objectives. Let us look at the following examples from the National Policy of Education (NEP,
The purpose of pre-primary education shall be to:
a) effect a smooth transition from home to school;
b) prepare the child for the primary level of education;
c) Inculcate social norms.
The objectives. They are clear statements of intentions, but they are general. statements in a,
b, and c above are general school course wide of From “c”, above, specific objectives
relating to the intended instruction
that are to be used to “inculcate social norms” must be stated. Suppose folk tales
were to be used to “inculcate social norms”? A specific objective for this might be
stated as follows:
By the end of the story telling exercise the learners are expected to:
(i) list the characteristics of a good citizen;
explain at least two of such characteristics, without looking at their books; describe how they
will put the characteristics into use within the society. So, you will by now have seen clearly
the differences between general and specific objectives. Note that three components are
identifiable in the statement of specific objectives namely:
(a) An identifiable behaviour outcome of instruction, e.g. to “list” or “explain”
characteristics of a good citizen;
(b) Condition under which the behaviours are expected to occur; e.g. “explain … two of
such characteristics without looking at their books”;
(c) The standard level of acceptable performance by describing how well the learner
must perform before he/she is regarded as having learnt. In the example, the learners are
expected to explain at least two of the characteristics. So, the standard level of acceptable
performance is the explanation of at least
TWO of the characteristics of a good citizen!
These three components of behavioural objectives (as it is called) must be present in
statements of specific objectives. Have you noticed that action verbs are used in stating
objectives of a course of instruction? Such action verbs in the example above include, “list”,
“explain”, “describe”. They show what the learners will be doing by the end of the course of
iii. Goals: Educational Goals refer to an end in sight, which is sometimes
time-bound. They are similar to objectives, especially general objectives of schooling. Goals
may be interchangeably used with general objectives.
In the National Policy on Education, (NPE, 2009), educational goals are
specified for each level of schooling from pre-primary education to higher
education levels. That goals are time-bound could therefore be seen clearly from what
is stated as expected end-result of schooling at each level of Pakistani education.