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Defining Aims of Education

When it comes to the Aims of Education, schools are generally guided by the national curricula of their respective countries. For example, in India, the National Curriculum Framework of the NCERT states one of the aims as; The guiding principles ... provide the landscape of social values within which we locate our educational aims. The first is a commitment to democracy and the values of equality, justice, freedom, concern for others’ well-being, secularism, respect for human dignity and rights.

The question here is, how do we interpret this aim for primary education. Surely, we do not expect children of ages 5 to 10 to understand these potent words. Surely their world experiences are not so broad that they can see a need for such values.
Values cannot be preached. They have to be seen in action. The question thus translates to

  • What experiences should be provided to children for them to begin appreciating these values even before they encounter and perhaps comprehend these words?
  • How should the school processes and procedures be designed so that adults can demonstrate these values and children can imbibe and practise them?
  • What sort of a home environment must they have so that their lives in school and home are not contradictory and do not lead to conflicts and anxiety?

Extending the debate: Add and View Comments

The first place where children learn the ways of life is the school. That's where they learn their survival tactics. This actually sets in their future path of life.Primary education must aim first at teaching them to be humane. Being humane is a relative term and must vary from individual to individual.Schools need to be able to make the meek, strong; the aggressive more controlled; the selfish, selfless and the selfless a wee bit selfish.Compassion and harmonising is what all of us need to learn. Understanding of when to bend things to suit ones needs and when to bend to harmonise with others needs needs to be inculcated along with knowledge. Knowledge without understanding how to effectively use it can be futile.
Anjali Vyas
The entire school ethos should represent values enshrined in the National Curriculum Framework (NCF). Students cannot be expected to imbibe these values in isolation without them being part of the larger structure that embodies these values.
Sudakshina Mallick

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