Education is a complex subject which appears to elude definition. With the passage of time it has gathered new dimensions and stirred the human mind in unpredictable ways. Intelligent and well-meaning men have, at all times, attempted to define the ideals of education in their own way. While some have emphasized its physical or moral aspects, other have laid greater stress on its intellectual or social role. John Stuart Mill holds: Whatever helps to shape the human being; to make the human being what he is, or hinder him from being what he is not — is part of his education. ” A more satisfactory definition comes to us from Sir Richard Livingstone. He believes that education must include “a vocational element , a social or, as the Greeks would have called it, a political element and a spiritual element… education must help men to achieve these three ends.”
Education is a continuous process and it aims at the total development of the individual. The process begins with the home and progresses through school. If parents and teachers work in harmony. The mind of the child blossoms. His good and useful powers are developed in an agreeable way and his evil and useless propensities are checked. As he moves up in the scale of time and receptivity, he begins to understand the full meaning and purpose of a liberal education.
One of the main essentials of education is to provide the individual with the capacity for logical objective thinking. Without this skill it is difficult to conceive of any one’s acquiring and continually expanding the knowledge which is considered indispensable to an educated man. According to Albert Einstein, “The development of general ability for independent thinking and judgement should always be placed foremost, not the acquisition of special knowledge, ” An educational system which is in proactive bookish and remote from life will evidently be lopsided and serve no genuine purpose. “In the conditions of modern life the rule is absolute; the race which does not value trained intelligence is doomed.” A singular tribute, indeed , to the glory of the critical spirit from prof. A.N. Whitehead.
Equally essential is the religion-moral element. In a way, the cultivation of morality, or right conduct or good behaviour in its widest sense, is the supreme aim of education. A curriculum can ill-afford to be blind to this object, for its importance far transcends the syllabic domain. Absence of a meaningful set of values may breed arrogance and conceit. Institutions must contribute as much as they can to the traditional virtues of humility, truth contribute as much as they can to the traditional virtues of humility, truth, honour, piety, fortitude and so on. In particular, we cannot believe that the ignorance of the Holly Quran is a suitable hallmark of educated men. A working acquaintance with this unique code of human conduct is so obviously fundamental as not to require argument.
So much attention is often directed towards the mental and ethical branches of education that, in the process, the physical dimension is either forgotten or just ignored. The body, indeed, is not merely and instrument through which the mind achieves its purpose: it is a necessary condition of the very existence and efficiency of the mind. That many disorders are psychosomatic is now an accepted fact of modern life. The time-honoured maxim, “a sound mind in a sound body”, contains a deeper truth than many supose–the truth that a healthy mind is impossible without a healthy body.
A harmonious blending of the mental, moral and physical cultures is then the ideal of a sound meaningful education. In a developing country like pakistan, the fruits of knowledge must be canalized in yet another direction as well–namely, as a resource for national development. Thinking should make a leap from the classroom to the practical problems beyound the campus. Our educational system should be consonant with the country’s self image; it should be, in form and content, consistent with the hopes and aspirations the country holds of itself; indeed, it should be the medium through which our aspirations come to be realized.