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Image:Klassenzimmer1930.jpg Template:Portalpar Template:Portalpar Template:Portalpar Education is a social science that encompasses teaching and learning specific knowledge, beliefs, and skills. Licensed and practicing teachers in the field use a variety of methods and materials in order to impart a curriculum. There has been a plethora of journals, magazines, books, and digests in the field of education that addresses these areas. Such literature addresses the teaching practices, with subjects that include lectures, game playing, testing, scheduling, record keeping, bullying, seating arrangements, interests, motivation, and computer access. However, the most important factors in any teacher's effectiveness is the interaction with students and personality of the teacher. The quality of their relationships provides the impetus for inspiration. The best teachers are able to translate good judgment, experience, and wisdom into the art of communication that students find compelling. It is their ability to understand and overcome prejudices, generate passion, and recognize potential that enable teachers to invigorate students with higher expectations of themselves and society at large. The goal is aiding the growth of students so that they become productive members of a migratory society. An imparting of culture from generation to generation (see socialisation) promotes a greater awareness and responsiveness through social maturity to the needs of an increasingly diversified global society.



It is widely accepted that the process of education begins at birth and continues throughout life. Some believe that education begins even earlier than this, as evidenced by some parents' playing music or reading to the baby in the hope it will influence the child's development.

Education is often used to refer solely to formal education (see below). However, it covers a range of experiences, from formal learning to the building of understanding through day to day experiences. Ultimately, all that we experience serves as a form of education.

Individuals receive informal education from a variety of sources. Family members and mass media have a strong influence on the informal education of the individual.


The word education is derived from the Latin educare meaning "to raise", "to bring up", "to train", "to rear", via "educatio/nis", bringing up, raising. In recent times the myth has arisen of its derivation from a different verb: educere, meaning "to lead out" or "to lead forth"; however the English word from this verb is "eduction": drawing out. This false etymology is used to bolster one of the theories behind the function of education—to develop innate abilities and expand horizons.

Philosophy of education


The philosophy of education is the study of the purpose, nature and ideal content of education. Related topics include knowledge itself, the nature of the knowing mind and the human subject, problems of authority, the relationship between education and society, and so on. At least since Rousseau's time, the philosophy of education has been linked to theories of developmental psychology and human development.

Fundamental purposes that have been proposed for education include:

  1. The enterprise of civil society depends on educating young people to become responsible, thoughtful and enterprising citizens. This is an intricate, challenging task requiring deep understanding of ethical principles, moral values, political theory, aesthetics, and economics; not to mention an understanding of who children are, in themselves and in society.
  2. Progress in every practical field depends upon having capacities that schooling can educate. Education thus is a means to fostering the individual's, society's, and even humanity's future development and prosperity. Emphasis is often put on economic success in this regard.
  3. One's individual development and the capacity to fulfill one's own purposes can depend upon an adequate preparation in childhood. Education thus can attempt to give a firm foundation for the achievement of personal fulfillment.

The nature, origin and scope of knowledge

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A central tenet of education typically includes “the imparting of knowledge.” At a very basic level, this purpose ultimately deals with the nature, origin and scope of knowledge. The branch of philosophy that addresses these and related issues is known as epistemology. This area of study often focuses on analyzing the nature and variety of knowledge and how it relates to similar notions such as truth and belief.

While the term, knowledge, often is used to convey this general purpose of education, it also can be viewed as part of a continuum of knowing that ranges from very specific data to the highest levels. Seen in this light, the continuum may be thought of to be comprised of a general hierarchy of overlapping levels of knowing. This continuum may include notions such as data, information, knowledge, wisdom, and realization.

Psychology of education


Educational psychology is the study of how humans learn in educational settings, the effectiveness of educational interventions, the psychology of teaching, and the social psychology of schools as organizations. Although the terms "educational psychology" and "school psychology" are often used interchangeably, researchers and theorists are likely to be identified as educational psychologists, whereas practitioners in schools or school-related settings are identified as school psychologists. Educational psychology is concerned with the processes of educational attainment among the general population and sub-populations such as gifted children and those subject to specific disabilities.

Educational psychology can in part be understood through its relationship with other disciplines. It is informed primarily by psychology, bearing a relationship to that discipline analogous to the relationship between medicine and biology. Educational psychology in turn informs a wide range of specialities within educational studies, including instructional design, educational technology, curriculum development, organizational learning, special education and classroom management. Educational psychology both draws from and contributes to cognitive science and the learning sciences. In universities, departments of educational psychology are usually housed within faculties of education, possibly accounting for the lack of representation of educational psychology content in introductory psychology textbooks (Lucas, Blazek, & Raley, 2006).

Academic disciplines


An academic discipline is a branch of knowledge which is formally taught, either at the university, or via some other such method. Functionally, disciplines are usually defined and recognized by the academic journals in which research is published, and the learned societies to which their practitioners belong.

Each discipline usually has several sub-disciplines or branches and distinguishing lines are often both arbitrary and ambiguous. Examples of broad areas of academic disciplines include the natural sciences, mathematics, computer science, social sciences, humanities and applied sciences.

Formal education

Formal education occurs when society or a group or an individual sets up a curriculum to educate people, usually the young. Formal education can become systematic and thorough. Formal education systems can be used to promote doctrines or ideals as well as knowledge and this can sometimes lead to abuse of the system.

Life-long or adult education has become widespread in many countries. However, education is still seen by many as something aimed at children, and adult education is often branded as adult learning or lifelong learning.

Adult education takes on many forms from formal class-based learning to self-directed learning. Lending libraries provide inexpensive informal access to books and other self-instructional materials. Many adults have also taken advantage of the rise in computer ownership and internet access to further their informal education.

Alternative education


Alternative education, also known as non-traditional education or educational alternative, describes a number of approaches to teaching and learning other than traditional publicly- or privately-run schools. These approaches can be applied to all students of all ages, from infancy to adulthood, and all levels of education.

Educational alternatives often are the result of education reform and are rooted in various philosophies that are fundamentally different from those of mainstream compulsory education. While some have strong political, scholarly, or philosophical orientations, others are more informal associations of teachers and students somehow dissatisfied with certain aspects of mainstream education.

Educational alternatives, which include charter schools, alternative schools, independent schools, and home-based learning vary widely, but often emphasize the value of small class size, close relationships between students and teachers, and a sense of community. For some, especially in the United States, the term alternative refers to educational settings for "at-risk" youth, as well as those in need of special education, rather than educational alternatives for all students.



Inexpensive technology is an increasingly influential factor in education. Computers and mobile phones are being widely used in developed countries to both complement established education practices and develop new ways of learning such as online education (a type of distance education). This gives students discretion in what they are interested in learning. The proliferation of computers also means the increase of programming and blogging. Technology clearly offers powerful learning tools that can engage students, such as classroom management software.


Template:Details In 1994, Dieter Lenzen, president of the Freie Universität Berlin, said "education began either millions of years ago or at the end of 1770". This quote by Lenzen includes the idea that education as a science cannot be separated from the educational traditions that existed before. The first chair of pedagogy was founded at the end of the 1770s at the University of Halle, Germany.

Education was the natural response of early civilizations to the struggle of surviving and thriving as a culture. Adults trained the young of their society in the knowledge and skills they would need to master and eventually pass on. The evolution of culture, and human beings as a species depended on this practice of transmitting knowledge. In pre-literate societies this was achieved orally and through imitation. Story-telling continued from one generation to the next. Oral language developed into written symbols and letters. The depth and breadth of knowledge that could be preserved and passed soon increased exponentially.

When cultures began to extend their knowledge beyond the basic skills of communicating, trading, gathering food, religious practices, etc, formal education, and schooling, eventually followed. Schooling in this sense was already in place in Egypt between 3000 and 500BC.

Basic education today is considered those skills that are necessary to function in society.


In the West, the origins of education were heavily influenced by the specific organized religion: priests and monks realised the importance of promoting positive virtues in the young and founded, maintained, and staffed school systems. In Europe, many of the first universities have Catholic roots. Following the Reformation in Scotland the newly established national Church of Scotland set out a programme for spiritual reform in January 1561 setting the principle of a schoolteacher for every parish church and free education for the poor. In 1633 an Act of the Parliament of Scotland introduced a tax to pay for this programme, and by the end of the 17th century education in Scotland brought literacy to much of the population, with the system being used by all except the nobility. In the german language there are two words for education: Bildung (which means cultivation, formation and creation) and Erziehung (which means breeding and instructing).

During and following the Age of Enlightenment people largely forgot the relationship between religion and education. Jean-Jacques Rousseau fuelled an influential early-Romanticism reaction to formalised religion-based education at a time when the concept of childhood had started to become popular as a distinct aspect of human development.

The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth's Commission of National Education (Polish: Komisja Edukacji Narodowej, Lithuanian: Nacionaline Edukacine Komisija) formed in 1773 counts as the first Ministry of Education in the history of mankind.

Conventional social history narrates how by about the beginning of the 19th century the industrial revolution a demand for masses of disciplined, inter-changeable workers possessing minimal literacy became commonplace. In these circumstances, the state began to mandate and dictate attendance at standardized schools with a state-ordained curriculum. The general and vocational education paths of the 20th century soon emerged. With increasing economic specialization demanding increasingly specialized [[skill]s from a population, children spent longer periods in formal education before entering or while engaged in the workforce.


Education in China began with the Chinese classic texts, rather than organized religion. The early Chinese state depended upon literate, educated officials for operation of the empire, and an imperial examination system was established in the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220) for evaluating and selecting officials. This merit-based system gave rise to schools that taught the classics and continued in use for 2,000 years, until the end the Qing Dynasty, and was abolished in 1911 in favour of Western education methods.


Template:Main The origins of education in Japan are closely related to religion. Schooling was conducted at temples for youngsters who wanted to study Buddhism to become priests. Later, children who were willing to study started to meet at places called, "Tera-koya" (literally meaning temple huts) and learned how to read and write Japanese.


Template:Main India has a long history of organized education. The Gurukul system of education is one of the oldest on earth, and was dedicated to the highest ideals of all-round human development: physical, mental and spiritual. Gurukuls were traditional Hindu residential schools of learning; typically the teacher's house or a monastery. Education was free, but students from well-to-do families payed Gurudakshina, a voluntary contribution after the completion of their studies. At the Gurukuls, the teacher imparted knowledge of Religion, Scriptures, Philosophy, Literature, Warfare, Statecraft, Medicine Astrology and History (the Sanskrit word "Itihaas" means History). The first millennium and the few centuries preceding it saw the flourishing of higher education at Nalanda, Takshashila University, Ujjain, & Vikramshila Universities. Art, Architecture, Painting, Logic, Grammar, Philosophy, Astronomy, Literature, Buddhism, Hinduism, Arthashastra (Economics & Politics), Law, and Medicine were among the subjects taught and each university specialized in a particular field of study. Takshila specialized in the study of medicine, while Ujjain laid emphasis on astronomy. Nalanda, being the biggest centre, handled all branches of knowledge, and housed up to 10,000 students at its peak. British records show that education was widespread in the 18th century, with a school for every temple, mosque or village in most regions of the country. The subjects taught included Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Theology, Law, Astronomy, Metaphysics, Ethics, Medical Science and Religion. The schools were attended by students representative of all classes of society. The current system of education, with its western style and content, was introduced & funded by the British in the 20th century, following recommendations by Macaulay. Traditional structures were not recognized by the British govt and have been on the decline since. Gandhi is said to have described the traditional educational system as a beautiful tree that was destroyed during the British rule.

Recent world-wide trends

Overall, illiteracy has greatly decreased in recent years.

Illiteracy and the percentage of populations without any schooling have decreased in the past several decades. For example, the percentage of population without any schooling decreased from 36% in 1960 to 25% in 2000.

Among developing countries, illiteracy and percentages without schooling in 2000 stood at about half the 1970 figures. Among developed countries, illiteracy rates decreased from 6 % to 1 %, and percentages without schooling decreased from 5 to 2.

Illiteracy rates in less economically developed countries (LEDCs) surpassed those of more economically developed countries (MEDCs) by a factor of 10 in 1970, and by a factor of about 20 in 2000. Illiteracy decreased greatly in LDCs, and virtually disappeared in MDCs. Percentages without any schooling showed similar patterns.

Percentages of the population with no schooling varied greatly among LDCs in 2000, from less than 10 % to over 65 %. MDCs had much less variation, ranging from less than 2 % to 17 %.

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"I think the big mistake in schools is trying to teach children anything, and by using fear as the basic motivation. Fear of getting failing grades, fear of not staying with your class, etc. Interest can produce learning on a scale compared to fear as a nuclear explosion to a firecracker."
- Stanley Kubrick

The goal of education is the transference of ideas and skills from one to one, one to many, many to many and many to one with the possible high transfer rate and volume of knowledge under the possible shortest time duration at any place and circumstance. Current education issues include which teaching method(s) are most effective, how to determine what knowledge should be taught, which knowledge is most relevant, and how well the pupil will retain incoming knowledge. Educators such as George Counts and Paulo Freire identified education as an inherently political process with inherently political outcomes. The challenge of identifying whose ideas are transferred and what goals they serve has always stood in the face of formal and informal education.

In addition to the "Three R's", reading, writing, and arithmetic, Western primary and secondary schools attempt to teach the basic knowledge of history, geography, mathematics (usually including calculus and algebra), physics, chemistry and sometimes politics, in the hope that students will retain and use this knowledge as they age or that the skills acquired will be transferrable. The current education system measures competency with tests and assignments and then assigns each student a corresponding grade. The grades usually come in the form of either a letter grade or a percentage, which are intended to represent the amount of all material presented in class that the student understood.

Educational progressives or advocates of unschooling often believe that grades do not necessarily reveal the strengths and weaknesses of a student, and that there is an unfortunate lack of youth voice in the educative process. Some feel the current grading system lowers students' self-confidence, as students may receive poor marks due to factors outside their control. Such factors include poverty, child abuse, and prejudiced or incompetent teachers.

By contrast, many advocates of a more traditional or "back to basics" approach believe that the direction of reform needs to be the opposite. Students are not inspired or challenged to achieve success because of the dumbing down of the curriculum and the replacement of the "canon" with inferior material. Their view of self-confidence is that it arises not from removing hurdles such as grading, but by making them fair and encouraging students to gain pride from knowing they can jump over these hurdles.

On the one hand, Albert Einstein, the most famous physicist of the twentieth century, credited with helping us understand the universe better, was not a model school student. He was uninterested in what was being taught, and he did not attend classes all the time. However, his gifts eventually shone through and added to the sum of human knowledge. On the other hand, for millennia those who have been challenged and well-educated in traditional schools have risen to great success and to a lifelong love of learning because their minds were made better and more powerful, as well as because of their mastery of a wide range of skills.

There are a number of highly controversial issues in education. Should some knowledge be forgotten? What should be taught, are we better off knowing how to build nuclear bombs, or is it best to let such knowledge be forgotten? There are also some philosphies, for example Transcendentalism, that would probably reject conventional education in the belief that knowledge should be gained through purely personal experience.

A recent book questions whether children are being expected to learn too much. In Yaneer Bar-Yam's book, Making Things Work, he writes, "There is an ongoing tendency to increase the length of textbooks. There are various reasons why people want to add to the education of children. People who work on education often believe, nobly enough, that the most important contribution is to get children to learn more. Publishers want to sell new books and adding new material is an important aspect of an effective sales pitch". Y. Bar-Yam, Making Things Work, NECSI/Knowledge Press, 2005.

The cost of higher education in developed countries is increasingly becoming an issue.

Developing countries

In developing countries, the number and seriousness of the problems faced is naturally greater. People are sometimes unaware of the importance of education, and there is economic pressure from those parents who prioritize their children's making money in the short term over any long-term benefits of education. Recent studies on child labor and poverty have suggested, however, that when poor families reach a certain economic threshold where families are able to provide for their basic needs, parents return their children to school. This has been found to be true, once the threshold has been breached, even if the potential economic value of the children's work has increased since their return to school. Teachers are often paid less than other similar professions.

A lack of good universities, and a low acceptance rate for good universities is evident in countries with a relatively high population density. In some countries there are uniform, overstructured, inflexible centralized programs from a central agency that regulates all aspects of education.

  • Due to globalization, increased pressure on students in curricular activities
  • Removal of a certain percentage of students for improvisation of academics (usually practised in schools, after 10th grade)

India however is starting to develop technologies that will skip land based phone and internet lines. Instead, they have launched a special education satellite that can reach more of the country at a greatly reduced cost. There is also an initiative started by a group out of MIT and supported by several major corporations to develop a $100 laptop. The laptops should be available by late 2006 or 2007. The laptops, sold at cost, will enable developing countries to give their children a digital education, and to close the digital divide across the world.

In Africa, NEPAD has launched an "e-school programme" to provide all 600,000 primary and high schools with computer equipment, learning materials and internet access within 10 years.

Private groups, like The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are working to give more individuals opportunities to receive education in developing countries through such programs as the Perpetual Education Fund.

An International Development Agency started with the support of American President Bill Clinton uses the internet to allow co-operation by individuals on issues of social development.

Parental involvement

Parental involvement is a necessary thing when it comes to a child's educational development. Early and consistent parental involvement in the child's life is critical such as reading to children at an early age, teaching patterns, interpersonal communication skills, exposing them to diverse cultures and the community around them, educating them on a healthy lifestyle, etc. The socialization and academic education of a child are aided by the involvement of the student, parent(s), teachers, and others in the community and extended family.

Academic achievement and parental involvement are strongly linked in the research. Many schools are now beginning parental involvement programs in a more organized fashion, in part due to the No Child Left Behind legislation from the US Department of Education.

See also


| author=Dharampal
| title= The Beautiful Tree
| publisher=Other India Press
| year=2000
  • Lucas, J. L., Blazek, M. A., & Raley, A. B. (2005). The lack of representation of educational psychology and school psychology in introductory psychology textbooks. Educational Psychology, 25, 347-351.
  • {{cite book
| author=Siljander, Pauli
| title=Systemaattinen johdatus kasvatustieteeseen
| publisher=otava
| year=2002
| id=ISBN 951-1-18439-3

External links


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