[PDF Notes] Short essay on the Role of Education

1. First, education should enable man to know the art of self- preservation.

2. Secondly, education should enable one to earn his living and secure the necessities of life. Man cannot live merely on air and water; education should be such as will equip the child to get a job, to make him efficient to earn his living.

3. Thirdly, education should impart knowledge about bearing and rearing children who carry the message of the previous generation. Only thus can it ensure survival.

4. Fourthly, education for complete living aims at preparing the pupils to perform well, social and political responsibilities.

5. Lastly, education must prepare one to utilise one’s leisure well by enjoying the refinements of culture, art, literature and the like. This will promote physical and mental health.


The ‘complete living’ aim of education has been criticised on many grounds.

(i) There is no sense in giving an arbitrary division of the requirement of life once for all.

(ii) Self-preservation is not a high ideal. Had it been so, our Indian Jawan would not fight the Chinese, knowing well that death is the result.

(iii) There is too much stress on science.

(iv) There is too much stress on biological existence.

5. Harmonious Development as an Aim of Education


No single aim of education is enough. Education cannot be regarded as an activity with a single aim. To bring on aspect of the learner’s personality into focus is to render education lop-sided and incomplete. It is to answer this charge that a comprehensive aim of education, enveloping all the recognised aspects of one’s personality is often suggested. It is the harmonious development of personality which education should aim at.


1. No single aim of education is enough.

2. Education should produce a well-balanced personality.

3. Supported by all progressive educationists-Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Gandhi.

4. Limitations:

(i) Vague term;

(ii) Curricular limitation.

5. The aim is fairly convincing.

Education Should Produce a Well-balanced Personality.

A human child is blessed with a number of powers and capabilities. Development of all these powers of the child should be harmonious in order to produce a well-balanced personality.

Supported by all Progressive Educationists:

Harmonious development of personality as the true aim of education has been supported by all progressive educationists

(i) Rousseau was the first modern educator who conceived education as “the process of development into an enjoyable, rational, harmoniously balanced, useful and hence, natural life.”

(ii) Pestalozzi was the greatest champion of the harmonious development aim. He says in Educational Writings: “The aim of instruction is, and can be nothing but the development of the human nature by the harmonious cultivation of its power and talents and promotion of manliness of life.” He further says: “The sole aim of education is the harmonious development of the faculties and dispositions which make up personality.” In other words, Pestalozzi emphasised the development of 3 H’s instead of 3 R’-Head, Heart and Hand-as the essence of true education.

(iii) Gandhi’s view.

Gandhiji believed that the whole man is the subject of education. He said: “By education mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man-body, mind and spirit.”


The idea of the harmonious development as an aim of education is, no doubt, comprehensive and all inclusive. However, it has the following limitations:

1. Vague.

The term harmonious development is vague. It is not clear. What standard of development of various capacities would be ideally harmonious? Again, harmonious development will mean producing men who are jacks of all trades but masters of none. We are living in an age of specialization. Due margin has to be allowed to develop the best in man for which he is best fitted.

2. Educational Limitation.

Harmonious development may mean putting equal stress on intellectual, emotional, aesthetic and moral side of human nature. If that is so, one may again ask: What type of curriculum is needed? How much weight age on each subject in the curriculum is to be given? How is the whole scheme to be put through? Of course, Pestalozzi and Gandhi agree on the point that the development of Head, Heart, and Hand constitutes the true meaning of ‘harmonious development.’ None of these is to be developed independent of the other.


The above discussion leads us to conclude that ‘harmonious development’ as an aim of education is fairly convincing though it has its limitations as regards the meaning of the term itself. Education cannot afford to neglect any aspect of human personality-knowledge, vocational, moral, aesthetic, and religious. But, the true meaning of ‘harmonious development’ does not consist in making an athlete-cum-scholar cum-artist-cum- saint-cum- every- thing. Its true meaning lies in development of that aspect or specific ability, whether artistic or scientific, which is more powerful than the others, to the fullest extent. However, education must provide for the development of other abilities to the reasonable limits.

6. Democratic Aim of Education

Education should aim at teaching and inculcating democratic values in the children. Democratic values imply respect for the individuality of each and every person, provision for free expression and fearless airing of differences of opinion, and cooperative and collective decision making. Some of the important values or principles of democracy are (i) Respect for individuality, (ii) Equality, (iii) Toleration, (iv) Cooperative living, (v) Faith in change through persuasion. The function of education is to inculcate these values in the pupils.

According to University Education Commission : “Education is the great instrument of social emancipation by which democracy establishes, maintains and protects the spirit of equality among its members.” Education therefore, must work for inculcating democratic values in the students. According to Ross, “Schools ought to stress the duties and responsibilities of individual citizens.

Everywhere there should be a spirit of teamwork, the emphasis should always be laid on community. The true function of a school in a democracy therefore, is to provide for the enrichment of individual life. It is a prepared environment in which he may best blossom”. Thus, schools should aim at producing such individuals who are social, disciplined, creative and adaptable. They should discover the inherent worth of each individual pupil and try to develop and utilize it to serve the best interests of both the individual and the society.

To achieve these aims, the schools must be run on democratic lines. The teacher as well as the head of the school must function in a democratic way. Thus, it should function as a democratic community mutually discussing educational matters, exchanging views in a cordial atmosphere, and arriving at collective decisions. The school should act as a Community Centre where democratic ideals are not only taught theoretically but acted upon practically. This will inculcate democratic values in the pupils, so essential for the citizens of a democratic country like India.

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