The following specific aims of education are discussed here


The following specific aims of education are discussed here:

1. Knowledge aim.

2. Vocational aim.


3. Character-building aim.

4. Complete-living aim.

5. Harmonious Development of Personality as an aim.

6. Democratic Aim of Education.


I. Knowledge as an Aim of Education


Knowledge has almost been widely accepted as the aim of education since the time of Sophists, 400 B.C. Knowledge is a powerful agent for intellectual satisfaction. The present civilization has come to pass through the dissemination of knowledge through the medium of education.

Socrates has also said that “one who had true knowledge could not be other than virtuous.” So, education cannot but have knowledge as its important aim.


Sometimes it is contended that knowledge is misused. It is true to some extent. But in that case, the fault does not lie in having knowledge as an aim of education. In fact, knowledge has helped man to overcome the forces of nature and thus satisfy human wants. “If mean men are unwilling and stupid men unable to use knowledge for the best interests of society, the fault is not with knowledge. The cure for folly and ignorance is not less knowledge but more.”

Knowledge as an aim of education is accepted on the following merits:

(a) Instrument of education. Knowledge is an instrument of education. It is a link between the teacher, the pupil and the social environment.

(b) Essential for adjustment. Knowledge is essential for adjustment to and mastery of environment. Healthy adjustment is possible only when the individual possesses knowledge of the same.


(c) Essential for growth of society. Prof. D.I.O, Conner says that knowledge is essential for the continuity and growth of society. Human society as it stands to-day is much different from that of the Old Stone Age. This is because education has propagated social heritage comprising knowledge of facts, skills and ways of behaviour.

(d) Basis of moral behaviour. Knowledge is the basis of moral behaviour. Education is the modification of behaviour. So knowledge is an important aim of education. In the teachings of world’s greatest philosophers and teachers, we find such slogans as ‘know them self, ‘knowledge is virtue’.

(e) Mental food, a potential power. Knowledge is mental food. It is a potential power. It is knowledge that makes human mind a thinking agent.

(f) Means of human happiness. Knowledge is a means of never-ending happiness. Knowledge has helped man overcome disease and misery, superstition and imaginary fear.


(g) Valuable asset. Knowledge is man’s valuable asset. It is an essential means of promoting human welfare.


Education should not aim at knowledge for knowledge sake. Knowledge as an exclusive aim of education is narrow and not worthy of all human aspirations. It has been rightly said by Prof. Whitehead: “A merely well-informed person is the most useless bore on God’s earth.” Gandhiji has also pointed out: “Man is neither mere intellect, nor the gross animal body, nor head nor soul alone. A proper and harmonious contribution of all the three is required for the making of the whole and constitutes the true economics of education.”

2. Vocational Aim of Education


The vocational aim of education is the direct outcome of industrial and scientific advancement. Vocationalisation of education is an important slogan of modern democratic education. Without a proper emphasis on vocational aspect of education, those who merely go to school, suffer all their lives. The vocational aim of education is important from the following points of view:


1. Vocational aim of education is the direct outcome of industrial scientific progress.

2. (i) Balances individual capacity with social service ;

I. Balances economic and industrial progress;

II. Reduces emphasis on verbalism;

III. Education becomes a purposeful activity;

IV. Suitable for persons with lower intelligence;

3. This may reduce education to just “bread and butter” aim activity.

4. Liberal education must be balanced with vocational education.

1. Balances individual capacity with social service.

In the words of John Dewey, “Education with vocational aim will balance the distinctive capacity of the individual with social Service.” Such a balance will lead to the learner’s social efficiency.

2. Balances economic and industrial progress.

Vocational Education strikes a balance between economic and industrial progress. It prepares students for a useful life and useful occupation. In the words of Gandhiji, “True education ought to be a kind of insurance against unemployment.”

3. Reduces emphasis on verbalism.

Vocational aim of education; will reduce the impact of verbalism and mere intellectual domination. I Modern educators have advocated the idea of vocational education. P Rousseau preferred workshops to giving verbal education. In our country, Gandhiji introduced some craft and manual work as a part of his Basic? Education.

4. A purposeful activity.

Education with a vocational bias becomes a purposeful activity. All purposeful activities lead to efficiency. 1 Kilpatrick also gives maximum importance to purposefulness in a project. Indian Education Commission (1964-66) recommended ‘Work Experience’ as the basis of all education and emphasised the science and technology oriented education.

5. Suitable for persons with lower intelligence.

Vocational training is also suitable for the persons with lower intelligence.


On account of its utilitarian value, the vocational aim of education may be over-emphasised. It may be reduced to just “bread and butter” aim. In this sense the vocational aim is a narrow aim of education. Man does not live by bread alone. In the words of Prof. V.R. Taneja, “Education when reduced to vocational education does not exercise i that inspiring and elevating influence which leads to rich and fuller life.”

The vocational aim cannot be ignored either. Education minus emphasis on the individual’s vocational efficiency is just verbose and an exercise in intellectual arithmetic. We may conclude by saying that “a liberal education, which is divorced from vocational education which is not supplemented by a programme of liberal education is bound to be mechanical.”

3. Character-Building Aim of Education


The one essential aim of education is character- building. Education consists in the cultivation of certain human values and development of attitudes and habits which constitute the character of a person.

Gandhiji gave top priority to character education. By this he meant that the purpose of education is to develop courage, strength and virtue. Raymont also says that the teacher’s ultimate concern is to cultivate strength and purity of character.


1. The one essential aim of education is character building.

2. A comprehensive aim of school education.

3. We want education by which character is formed.

4. A man of character wills loftily and honestly.

5. Various Commissions-character building an important aim.

6. Need of the hour in India today.

7. Teachers and schools can play important role in imparting education for character.

Great thinkers have highlighted the character-building aim of education.

(i) According to John Dewey, “The establishing of character is a comprehensive aim of school education.”

(ii) According to Swami Vivekananda, “We want that education by which character is formed, strength of mind is increased, and the intellect is expanded and by which one can stand on one’s own feet.”

(iii) On being asked’ What could be your goal in education’? Gandhiji replied: “Character building. I would try to develop courage, strength, virtue, the ability to forget oneself in working towards great aims.” Gandhiji believed that “a man of character wills loftily and honestly as well as effectively.”

(iv) Various Commissions on Indian Education have lain down that building of character is one of the most important aims of Indian education.

(v) Education for character is the need of the hour in India today. The need is to build men and women of sound character and integrity. There is the crisis of character as well as the crisis of courage. Pt. Nehru had once said “Hang every corrupt person by the first lamp-post.” Do we have the courage of character to say so or do so?

How to educate for character?

To impart character education is a crucial problem. Teachers must set a stage for such education. If they are to understand and influence young people, they must be persons not only of superior character themselves but intelligent, gifted, capable, and creative. “Such persons can teach excellence in the best way through the example of what they themselves are.” Merely asking the students to become moral beings carries no weight.

It can be better done through activities like morning assemblies, mass prayers, talks by eminent persons and by actually living in the situations. The whole school environment should be made congenial and effective. Above all, parents and different agencies can save the society and the nation from mass moral degeneration.


In our institutions, presently, the intellectual aspect is dominant, physical aspect plays second fiddle to the former, and the moral aspect is totally neglected. ‘Education in the fullest sense of the term takes care of the physical, intellectual and moral development of the individual. Moral life cannot grow in a vacuum. Morality has social reference. Hence, in the school curriculum, place must be given to principles of moral education.

4. ‘Complete Living’ as an Aim of Education

This aim has been formulated and brilliantly expounded by Herbert Spencer. Education, according to this great thinker, should acquaint us with the laws and ways of complete living. Complete living implies living one’s life to the full in its various aspects. An individual’s personality has innumerable aspects, which clamour for development and expression. Every aspect of one’s personality should find expression through various types of activities and experiences. This means that the aim of education should be to provide to the pupils with varied types of experiences so that every aspect of their personality may be so developed, that they can participate successfully in each and every phase of their lives.


1. Herbert Spencer expounded ‘Complete living’ as the true aim of education.

2. The aim is the result of science, utilitarian attitude, theory of evolution.

3. Education must strive to achieve-

Self preservation

Earn living

Bringing up of children

Utilisation of leisure:

4. Criticised on various grounds:

Arbitrary division of life’s requirements

Too much stress on science and biological existence.

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