The Meaning of Education

There are a hundred definitions of Education but the one which comes closest to its core is that Education is what remains with you after you have forgotten all about you learnt at school, college or university. Education breaks all strengthens all bonds. It is the training of mind, not the stuffing of brains. It is the assimilation of ideas, not the dissemination of data. It has continued to evolve diversity and extend its reach since the dawn of human history.

EDUCATION is a process of character building, strengthening mind and expansion of intellect. According to an old Indian proverb, a man without Education is a beast without its horns or tail. He is a burden on earth and a parasite on society. The purpose of Education according to Mahatma Gandhi is to establish a Non-exploitative social and economic order. Education is a highway to the goal.

The ideal man of India, said Dr.Radhakrishnan is not the magnanimous man of Greece, nor the valiant knight of medieval Europe, but the free man of the spirit who has attained into the universe by rigid discipline and practise of disinterested virtues, who has freed himself from the prejudices of time and place. In the true Indian concept Education must free thought from all its fetters, social, economic, political, even religious and philosophical. It must remove darkness from mind replace it with light.

Dissent and verification of knowledge are the keynotes of ancient Indian education. The Guru had all the authority, yet the Shishya was given the free gift of dissent by the Guru-shishya Parampara ( Teacher-Disciple Tradition). When Gautama asked his favourite disciple, Ananda, to follow his new doctrine of eight fold path and four fold truths. That human material is largely conditioned by the training and Education which it receives. It seems to me that whatever we think of defence or of food or of industry and commerce, we must take every step to see that Education is given the first priority among our national requirement.” Amartaya Sen also emphasised that the solution of all problems, be they related to the economy, development or population, lies in Education.

India has the distinction of having one of the largest elementary Education systems in the World. With more than 30 lakhs teachers, the elementary Education is expanding in the country in a significant scale. The literacy rate in the country has increased from a meagre 18.33 per cent in 1951 to 65.38 in 2001. In reiterating its stand for universalization of primary Education in the country, the 86th amendment to the constitution of India has made free and compulsory Education to the children of 6-14 age groups a fundamental right.

The government of India has launched several programs after Independence to uplift literacy in the country. In order to achieve inclusive Education it has provided incentives to the children belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and also to the girls.

More recently, the government of India has launched in 2001 Sarva Shikhya Abhiyan (SSA) a flagship programme in partnership with the state government to cover the entire country and address needs of 192 million children in 1.1 million habitations. The SSA programmes aims at:

  • Strengthening school infrastructure by the constructing new building and upgrading the existing building.
  • Providing teachers and also building their capacities through training.
  • Seeks to provide quality Education including life skills.
  • It aims at bridging social, regional and gender gaps in literacy and primary Education.
  • Promoting community participation in primary Education by the formulating village Education Committees. And involving them in planning and raising community contribution for primary Education.
  • It focuses on girls Education and children with special needs.
  • It seeks to provide computer Education to bridge the digital divide.
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