All noble enterprises and worthy ventures are spurned or launched by just causes or purpose, “something set up as an object or end to be attained”.
Let us explore the purpose of education today relevant to its intended purpose.
To educate is to bestow knowledge upon another. As stated more eloquently, education is the formalized passage of knowledge through established channels.
According to Kim Jones, CEO and contributor to Forbes, “Education does not have a single purpose; it serves multiple objectives, and the relative importance of each of these objectives can be very personal. The varied emphasis is a result of the diverse economic, social, spiritual, cultural, and political realities of our individual lives.“
The end goal of education is to further society. The youngest members of society are engendered and taught principles that constitute societal makeup. Then the students are given basic tools to help them function within the parameters of the structure, communicate (language and writing), perform basic mathematical computations, and to understand the intricacies of nature. Then the students are taught historical contexts so as to build upon those things which have made us great, or to reconstruct those which have seemed to hinder progress or proven to be counterproductive.
Humanity has always been purposed to educate. This stems from humankind’s natural inclination or instinctual drive to maintain civilizations. In educating, generations are equipped with the knowledge necessary to do more than subsist. As years passed, education became more systemized. The system of education was created for the explicit intention of the advancement and enlightening of the masses of humankind through a systematic way of passing information. However, it was purposed that only select groups of individuals be privvy to bodies of intelligence and information. This was done as a means of driving the upward mobility of civilizations and societies. A formal education was often denied to those deemed inferior or not worthy. As time passed and as all unjust causes speared revolution, it soon became evident that the denial of these established systems was inhumane as it put several societal members at a severe disadvantage. Those denied the privilege were denied access to upward mobility and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and doomed to barely subsist.
Along the way it became evident that to educate meant more than just the basic divulgence of knowledge. While the disclosure of knowledge would allow one to subsist and maintain civilizations, it took much more to progress them and secure a position of leadership. However, it became difficult to institutionalize methods of learning to determine what would define parameters necessary to meet the desired level of success.
As Jones notes, there is a current struggle to define education.
It’s as if our children are moving along an assembly line, where we diligently instill math, reading and science skills and then test them to see how much they retained, making sure they meet all the “standards” of production. Today, a successful member of society must bring something different to the table. Individuals are valued for their unique contributions and their ability to think creatively, take initiative and incorporate a global perspective into their decisions.