Getting educated is very important for every person. It goes without saying that each of us has to have a proper education. We learn how to read, count and write. These are the basic abilities we acquire and use during our life. However, a logical question arises than: is there any other purpose of education or it is aimed only at giving us a possibility to communicate our ideas and satisfy basic needs?
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During centuries, there were different interpretations of the purpose of education. Many scientists, pedagogues and philosophers tried to answer the question: what is education for? Taking into consideration the needs and tendencies of a modern society, we can assume that the purpose of education is to prepare students to be self-sufficient citizens capable of solving real world problems.
We all live and work to support our society which, in its turn, provides as with security and other benefits. To support this “balance”, we should build education based on standards of decency and human survival by the need of the social community. In other words, one should be educated in order to serve the society.
There are many successful people in the world, but there are few people concerned with the problems of environment and society. Our education should be aimed at educating people who love the world they lie in and who are ready to become peacemakers and healers of the world (Orr 55).
A sustainable society “consists” of citizens, workers, specialists, technicians, etc, who are ready to work in order to build and support such society. One of the ways to provide such education is to “get outdoor”. The skills and abilities develop in real world and not in artificial situations in class. In this regard, we may refer to the Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave”. One should “touch” the real world problems and get personal experience from it. Shadows in the cave are the retrospectives of the real knowledge.
To acquire the knowledge, we should leave the “cave”. We can learn theory separated from practice and this will not have any result. Instead, we should understand that every individual is a part of the natural world, thus, education should be based on ecological literacy as “health of our planet” is one of the most urgent questions of the modern social community.
For many centuries, the principles of the classical education were in the spotlight. The good of the individual, realizing his/her own potential were the purposes of the learning process. Cultural development is the aim of the classical education. It stands above everything, including religion. (Nietzsche, n. p.). Referring to Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” to interpret the classical education in modern society, we can say that “shadows on the wall” embody the knowledge needed to make yourself useful, be money-focused career maker.
But, one cannot live in the world of “cultural, but selfish people”. Fueling the economy of the country, people often forget about the consequences of their actions. That is why, economic (and any other type of education) should be incorporated with the ecological education. The aim is to ensure that knowledge will be used to pursue good purposes.
Environmental education is the main purpose of the modern education. Classical principles are important, but not progressive. They should adopt new principles dictated by the needs of modern culture and society.
Nietzsche, Friedrich. On the Future of our Educational Institutions Ed. Oscar Levy Trans. Kennedy, J. M. (2009): n. pg. [EBook #28146].
Orr, David. “What Is Education For?. Six Myths about the Foundations of Modern Education, and Six New Principles to Replace Them. In ”The Learning Revolution. Context Institute, 1991: 52.