Short essay on the Meaning of education



Education is a comprehensive term. It is body up with human race. Its boundaries are as rich and varied as life itself. Its meaning is as rich and deep as life itself.

Just as it is difficult to squeeze life in a few words, in the same way, it is difficult to give a single meaning to or definition of the term 'Education'. It is, therefore, true that the last word on 'Education' can never be uttered. Yet, as an educational discipline, the term Education may be understood.

-in its derivative sense;

-from the point of view of Indian thinkers;

-from the point of view of Western thinkers

1. Derivative Meaning of Education

In its derivative sense, the term 'Education' may be understood as Educare and Educere.

(a) Educare

Educare is a Latin worsens, 'to nourish', 'to bring up', and 'to rise'. This means, educating a child means nourishing or bringing up the child according to certain ends or aims.

(b) Educere

Educere is also a Latin word and it means 'to lead out' 'to draw outhits means, educating a child implies drawing out what is ingrained in the child or leading him out of darkness into light.

2. Meaning of Education from the point of view of Indian Thinkers

Ancient Indian thinkers took an idealistic or spiritual view of education. Modern Indian thinkers have regarded education more from the precinct of view that the idealistic one. (a) Ancient Thinkers

(i) In Rigveda, education has been understood as something which makes a man self-reliant and selfless.

(ii) In Upanishadas education has been understood aching the end product of which is salvation.

(iii) According to Yajnavalkya, 'Eden is that which makes a man of good character and useful to the world.

(iv) According to Kautilya, the great Indian Statesman and law giver, 'Education means training for the country and love for the nation.

(v) Shankaracharya regards Education as 'the realization of the self.


(i) Makes man self-reliant and selfless. -Rigveda

(ii) End-product, salvation. -Upanishads

(iii) Makes man a good product. -Yajnavalkya

(iv) Training for the country. -Kautilya

(v) The realization of the self -Shankracharya

(vi) Manifestation of the Divine perfection. -Vivekananda

(vii) Means for character formation. -Dayananda

(viii) All-round drawing out of the best in body, mind, spirit. -Gandhi

(ix) Makes life in harmony with all existence. -Tagore

(x) Helping the growing soul to draw out that is in itself. -Aurobindo

(xi) Dynamic process. -Humanyun Kabir

(xii) Process getting to its full possible development. -Zakir Hussain

(b) Modern Thinkers

(i) According to Swami Vivekananda, Education is 'the manifestation of divine perfection already existing in man.' By Education he meant drawing out the divine potential already existing in man.

(ii) According to Swami Dayananda, Education is a means for character formation and righteous living.

(Hi) According to Gandhiji: "By Education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man, body, mind and spirit." Gandhiji's definition includes the physical, intellectual and spiritual aspects of human personality.

(iv) According to Gurudev Tagore, Education is that which makes one's life in harmony with all existence and thus enables the mind to fixate truth which gives us the wealth of inner light and love and gives significance to life.

(v) According to Aurobindo, Education means helping the growing soul to draw out that is in itself

(vi) Prof. Humayun Kabir has defined Education as a "dynamic process which in its totality changes with the changing situations and developing circumstances."

(vii) Dr. Zakir Hussain, the late President of India, defined education as "the process of the individual mind, getting to its full possible development."

3. Meaning of Education from the Point of View of Western Thinkers

The meaning of the term Education, as understood by Western thinkers, has wider implications for a modern reader. In fact, the modern concept of 'Education' over much too Western thinkers who have interpreted education as a developmental process important views are summed-up below.

(a) Thinkers of the past

(i) According to Plato, "Education is the capacity to feel pleasure and pain at the right moment. It develops in the body and in the soul of the pupil all the beauty and all the perfection which he is capable of."

(ii) According to Aristotle, Education is the creation of a sound mind in a sound body. It develops man's faculty especially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty of which ct happiness essentially consists." (Hi) According to Comenius, "All who are born as human beings need education because they are destined to be real men, not wild beasts, dull animals, and clumps of wood."


(i) Capacity to feel pleasure and pain. -Plato

(ii) Creation of sound mind in a sound body. -Aristotle (Hi) Makes real men. -Comenius

(iv) Natural, harmonious and progressive development. -Pestalozzi

(v) Unfoldment of what is already enfolded within the germ. -Froebel

(vi) Development of capacities to control environment. -Dewey

(vii) Process of development. -Raymont

(viii) Complete development of the individuals. -Nunn

(ix) Influence to produce a permanent change. -Thompson

(x) Conscious and deliberate process. -Adams

(xi) Systematic and deliberate influence. -Redden

(b) Modern Thinkers

(i) According to Pestalozzi, "Education is the natural, harmonious and progressive development of man's innate powers."

(ii) According to Froebel, "Education is unfoldment of what already enfolded in the germ. It is the process through which the chi external."

(iii) According to John Dewey, "Education is the development i all those capacities in the individual which will enable f him to control his environment and fulfil his possibilities'

(iv) According to Raymont, "Education is a process of development I from infancy to maturity, the process by which he adopts himself gradually in various ways of his physical and spiritual environment."

(v)According to T.P. Nunn, "Education is the complete development of the individually of the child so that he can make an original contribution to human life according to tip best of his capacity."

(vi) Thompson defines Education as "the influence the environment on the individual with a view to producing I permanent change in his habits, behaviour, of thought and of attitude."

(vii) According to John Adams, "Education is conscious and deliberate process in which one personality acts upon another f in order to modify the development of that other by the communication and manipulation of knowledge"

(Viii) Redden's comprehensive definition of the term: The definition of Education as given by Redden is quiteensive. He states: "Deliberate and systematic influence exerted by the mature person upon the immature, through instruction, discipline, and harmonious development of physical, intellectual, aesthetic, social and spiritual powers of the human being, according to individual and social needs and directed towards union of the educand with his creator as the final end."