Short Essay on Education

The field of education and educating others is all about the endeavors made by senior and suitably qualified persons to teach and pass their knowledge on to students or the younger people in a community or in society as a whole. Education is, therefore, an institution and it is one that has a crucial role in integrating people into society so that they can make a worthy contribution. It is also about the cultivation, maintenance and continuation of culture. The term “education” was defined by Emile Durkheim – the French philosopher, social psychologist and sociologist – as the influence exercised by adults on “those who are not yet ready for adult life”.

Durkheim, often referred to as the father of sociology, also claims that the survival of society depends on its members having “a sufficient degree of homogeneity.” He goes on to say that education reinforces and perpetuates this homogeneity and that it is through education that a child learns the “basic rules, regulations, norms and values of society”.

Hence, education is a vital requirement if society is to modernize. The acquisition of knowledge allows individuals to know and understand the world way beyond their comfort zones or immediate surroundings. It also gives them the tools to view the world with a humanist and rationalist outlook. It should, however, be noted that education has become modernized in all its forms and this, in turn, is helping to modernize society in India and it is helping the nation to progress.

Compared to the modern mode of education in India, the traditional system was much different. For a start, there was an insufficient number of learning institutions in communities and throughout society. Added to this, the educational content could be said to be esoteric and was largely based on (or limited to) philosophical, scriptural, religious and metaphysics subject matter.

Moreover, it can be deduced that education was the prerogative of the higher classes in society and to castes in the ‘twice-born’ category. The way education was structured was both hereditary and more directed at status than talent or achievement and/or the ability to achieve. Consequently, those who belonged to low castes, most notably the scheduled castes, were excluded from receiving any or at least adequate education. Even in today’s society, and despite the efforts towards modernization, the Madrassah education available to Muslims is based to a large extent on philosophical, scriptural and religious teachings. Tradition and religion are also part of the curriculum of Shishu Mandirs – a series of India-run schools.

By contrast, modernization has liberalized the education system, making it more open and exoteric. The theme has moved to equality, freedom and humanism as well as a rejection of faith that is overly dogmatic and steeped in superstition. There is a more open view of the world, evidenced by a style that is of a more rational and scientific nature. The content of the curriculums are rational in outlook and in sync with what modern-day society needs and expects.

The subject matter taught at school, college and university level is wide-ranging and covers such disciplines as agriculture, culture, ecology, geography, grammar, history, horticulture, literature, science, social sciences and technology. Essentially, everything that has been taught on the curriculums in institutions in other parts of the world, particularly in developed countries, for as long as most people can remember is now available in Indian society.

The modernized education system places emphasis on such subjects as democracy, freedom, human rights, law, nationality and students are encouraged to take a scientific view of the world. Other aspects of the education system are co-curricular and students have access to many extra-curricular activities, many of which are organized for the purpose of helping students develop their personalities and characters so they can achieve their full potential.

Another good aspect of the modernized education system is that it is open to change and, consequently, courses and programs are altered or updated periodically. Usually, these changes are implemented to match the changes that occur in society as a whole so it means that education is keeping pace with changing circumstance and staying in tune with the rapidly changing industrial and technological advancements in society.

The industrial scenario that presently exists has given rise to multiple choices in terms of professions and work opportunities, the vast majority of which are reliant on some degree of scientific know-how and specialist skills. Modern society is one where the labor market is full of complicated skills divisions, which means people with specialist knowledge are much in demand.

Although the industrial marketplace has many diverse needs, these are adequately catered for by modern education. Some of the hottest areas of specialization today and where there is the greatest need for professional qualifications are in subjects such as engineering, healthcare, law, management and medicine.

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