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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?

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