>What should the purpose of education be?

>There seems to be a split between those who believe that the prime purpose of education is to prepare students for employment and those who believe it’s supposed to prepare students for life. What do you think?

2 comments

  • >Well most people say that it is to equip young people with the skills required for a good life and a positive contribution to society.Since it is premised on that we would really need to debate what determines a good life.Does churning out kids with skills in math and science, which will help them gain employment and contribute to the progress of society (which is only deemed neccassary because progress equals economic growth which is the real reason for the constant drive forward), provide them with a good life ?Much criticism has been handed to Japanese soceity because of its focus on having it's people work for the betterment of its nation, rather than have the nation provide for the betterment of the people.I spent a few years in Asia teaching and the children would attend regular school and then come to night school to learn/supplement english. A good few kids were also attending math classes at night too.Is this the kind of focus on education we would want for our kids ?Another spanner in the works is that the kids seemed to enjoy the extra schooling as well (at least the english lessons).So if the kids are happy to study like its already a job, does that make it alright ?Hitting your original question, I think we can see that education for the sole purpose of a job is fat too industrial a concept to be considered appropriate today.But when we say it is to prepare them for life and life consists in good part of having a job, which in the 'knowledge economy' requires a good deal of schooling, how can we hold such high falutin' values when they are dragged back to reality by the economies we live in.If we say it requires balance, determined by the childs aptitudes and desires, then how do we match that with the reality that educational policy is decided at a national level thereby reducing the ability for such nuances to be worked into the system ?I think that the only workable solution is to reduce the amount of education required, which is completely in the opposite direction to how policy has been moving over the last 30 years.By reducing the amount of time a child spends in structured/formalized schooling we allow the parents and the child to determine themselves what they should use teh available free time to focus on.For those who are from lower socio-economic classes this will probably aggravate the problem of poor education. For those families who value education and have extra personal resources to use opportunities, such a system would be beneficial.

  • >Well most people say that it is to equip young people with the skills required for a good life and a positive contribution to society.Since it is premised on that we would really need to debate what determines a good life.Does churning out kids with skills in math and science, which will help them gain employment and contribute to the progress of society (which is only deemed neccassary because progress equals economic growth which is the real reason for the constant drive forward), provide them with a good life ?Much criticism has been handed to Japanese soceity because of its focus on having it's people work for the betterment of its nation, rather than have the nation provide for the betterment of the people.I spent a few years in Asia teaching and the children would attend regular school and then come to night school to learn/supplement english. A good few kids were also attending math classes at night too.Is this the kind of focus on education we would want for our kids ?Another spanner in the works is that the kids seemed to enjoy the extra schooling as well (at least the english lessons).So if the kids are happy to study like its already a job, does that make it alright ?Hitting your original question, I think we can see that education for the sole purpose of a job is fat too industrial a concept to be considered appropriate today.But when we say it is to prepare them for life and life consists in good part of having a job, which in the 'knowledge economy' requires a good deal of schooling, how can we hold such high falutin' values when they are dragged back to reality by the economies we live in.If we say it requires balance, determined by the childs aptitudes and desires, then how do we match that with the reality that educational policy is decided at a national level thereby reducing the ability for such nuances to be worked into the system ?I think that the only workable solution is to reduce the amount of education required, which is completely in the opposite direction to how policy has been moving over the last 30 years.By reducing the amount of time a child spends in structured/formalized schooling we allow the parents and the child to determine themselves what they should use teh available free time to focus on.For those who are from lower socio-economic classes this will probably aggravate the problem of poor education. For those families who value education and have extra personal resources to use opportunities, such a system would be beneficial.

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