Philosophy of education is a body of knowledge that captures the system, aims, nature and problems of education, more or less encompassing key components of philosophical teachings such as an understanding of will and intuition for the discernment of judgments, the willingness to learn wholeheartedly, and possession of a mind on the part of students as full-fledged individuals.
These themes are an embodiment of life skills that enable students to have a broader view, explore their individuality, and develop. In it, there are teacher-centered philosophies, student-centered philosophies, and society-centered philosophies.
Teacher-centered philosophies allow teachers to inform their students on the basics of life; the essentials, and great works of past lives that are beneficial for the advancement of societies. Student-centered philosophies focus on the morality and development of students, all of which are encapsulated by the basics imbibed in the education process. And social-centered philosophies focus on behavioral upbringing and reconstruction of society to foster problem-solving skills.
The simple and explicit definition of philosophy as the study of knowledge, truth, and, life mingles with education and its variants. John Parankimalil describes education as an “enlightening experience”; it is a set of standardized instructions given in centers of education — schools — in which students piqued with an interest in acquiring knowledge on a particular field of study attend.
The history of education dates back to 3500Bc in Egypt and other ancient civilizations where ancient forms writing spurred on reading and learning as a way of societal development. Later on, empires began to educate their inhabitants in universities set up to teach complex yet necessary subjects such as medicine, astrology, law, philosophy, etc.
Years after, the trend solidified and modern education, introduced by Horace Mann was birthed in Massachusetts, America in the 19th century. He founded a journal of education for teachers and served as the minister of education.
Regardless, to understand the philosophy of education and its pillars we must understand the aims, nature, and problems of education.
The basic aim of education is to prepare students for society. The basic skills essential for improvement are taught to students worldwide. By UNESCO’s standards, the development of students into a full human being via the integration of emotional, physical, and intellectual capacities is what education seeks to achieve. The aims are divided into two; individual aims and social aims.
Individual aims of education are propagated for the sole benefit of a person. Although some argue that it is selfish others argue that individuals are the bedrock of society therefore individual development is paramount.
Social aims state that education is for society only. People against this have stated that this aim makes it easier for governments to control the populace. To this end, the government is selfish. Others say that educated individuals will benefit from a developed society only if they partake in building it.
As much as the two aims clash, an equilibrium between both will do justice to both individuals and society. Both bodies need each other. The individual depends on education to make discoveries and receive gainful employment from society. Society depends on the knowledge of the individual to survive.
The nature of education is systemic, versatile, and flexible with a predetermined scheme or curriculum that is subject to modification as change occurs. It is a lifelong process of training, development, and alteration of behaviors, rewarded with certifications, degrees, and employment. It is an inalienable right of all humans and also a tool for the logical integration of individuals into the system and logistics of society.
As a systematic entity, it offers the basics of living, versatility, and flexibility to venture into specific fields. It introduces students to multiple concepts of learning, memory development, and problem-solving skills.
Over the years, the system of education has been reconstructed to fit disabled students that have learning hurdles such as dyslexia, speech impediments, etc. It also enhances human senses and behaviors.
Today many problems threaten the existence of proper education. They plague various education systems so much so that the right to education for everyone is retrograding in the race of growth, so to speak.
Schools in developing and under-developing countries lack the proper thresholds that are expected to incite technical and human skills in students. The proper infrastructure and social amenities are absent from school children.
Furthermore, teachers are not paid properly. Because of their poor welfare, they become unenthusiastic about teaching. They are lackadaisical towards student development and only care for their well-being. This desire creates a deep chasm in the educational system. One that allows teachers to abuse their powers by requesting illegal and unneeded favors from students.
This is more evident in poor countries. A high number of poor people not only prevents the rate of illiteracy from declining but also puts unsolicited pressure on teachers to do all that is necessary to live a comfortable life. And when society fails them, they take matters in their hands.
Philosophy of education is a broad yet necessary need in the perpetuity of society and the need of an individual. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that its standards were not formed overnight. It took years of formulation, change, and adoption to get it to where it is today.
Although the problems still obfuscate its progress, there is hope. Developed countries possess a solid foundation of education therein granting opportunities, in the form of scholarships, grants, loans, to people that are unable to receive adequate education in their home countries.
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