What is the purpose of education?What is the purpose of education? I would like to see the different ideas that are present in this forum. Please include the following in your answer: 1. Should...

What is the purpose of education?

What is the purpose of education? I would like to see the different ideas that are present in this forum. Please include the following in your answer:

1. Should education be universal? If not, how should it be limited and why?

2. What subjects should be taught or what should be left out?

3. What is the goal of education?

Expert Answers
Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

To my mind, the summarily stated purpose of education is three-fold:

  1. to develop the humanity and dignity and competence of an individual so they are virtuous members of society
  2. to train and develop cognitive and logical processes while instilling information and knowledge that is invaluable and needed so they can freely guide future society along right and virtuous paths with right and virtuous motives
  3. to develop and train in skills and talents so that individuals can become gainful and contributing members of society that is shaped by giving and taking of talents, skills, and knowledge thus providing fulfilment and ascending excellence.

Utopian sounding, isn't it? Still, it is a reflection of the aspirations of education from ancient times through the early twentieth century.

carol-davis eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Education should enable the individual to be self-sufficient .  From education, a person should be able to think independently and critically. In today, world, education is the key to a successful career and a worthwhile life.  Society demands that the person be techologically trained in order to survive in the white collar world. 

As a college teacher, one of the first things that I tried to instill in my students is that individual classes offer the student a fund of knowledge, but the overall reason for coming to college is to learn to be a critical thinker. Learning to distill the truth from all the slathering of misinformation given in the media is necessary in order to form educated opinions.  Being able to take an essay/article and decipher its message or claim is key to the well-educated person of the 21st century.

shake99 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In my opinion, the goal of education (in the United States, at least) should be to develop people into critically thinking adults who can contribute to a free and fair society. This means that they are not simply being brainwashed or memorizing facts. They also need to learn the skills to compete in a quickly changing technological world.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The purpose of education is to give people control of their lives, and in turn their governance.  The main reason we are able to have a democracy is because we have free public education.  The quality of your democracy is directly proportionate to the quality of your education though.  We have some work to do there.