What Is Education For?

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What Is Education For?

What Is Education For?


The educational dilemma presented by Aristotle also reflects the predicaments of the modern society. It is generally agreed that education, primary, secondary, or higher should be the responsibility of the state. However, with respect to higher education the debate of public or private affair has continued since long. In modern societies, higher education is a public responsibility, however the trend towards privatization has increased considerably (McPherson and Schapiro, n.d., p. 4). According to Gumport (2001) higher education has several purposes while it is taken as an industry or a social institution. When education is a private affair, it becomes an industry. As a public affair, it remains to be a social institution. However, at present both the affairs suffer the dilemma of education that Aristotle had presented. A further complication is related to the nature of education and what purposes should it serve at the initial, middle and higher level. Should education, specifically higher education, focus on the individual learning or should it centre on raising the standards of education, knowledge, and culture in society. Aristotle's concerns related to education intended for moral or intellectual purposes is also valid in the present society. There lies a great confusion regarding this issue. In the times of medieval university, education revolved around churches and focused on developing moral excellence. However, at present the modern university serves the secular states and promote freedom from religion as compared to freedom of religion. There is a separation between knowledge and understanding and moral values are also not emphasized (De Witt, 2009, p. 3).Derek Gillard while presenting the history of education in England says that the purposes of secondary education have not been clearly identified. The courses that are meant for students of different ages are not properly differentiated (2011, p. n.d.). The question related to the purpose of education is an important one.


A compare and contrast of Michael Young's and John White's views

In the publication “What are schools for? “ and 'What are schools for and why' Michael Young and John White have presented opposing views regarding the purposes of education.

According to Michael Young, school is a means or providing exposure. Young people, by means of schools, should be exposed to those experiences which are beyond the scope of their families and communities (2011, p. 145). Schools have a unique role to play in a society. Every generation would lack a foundation if schools were absent. The role of the schools has been perceived in negative light by many radical educators since 1970s. He considers that the main purpose of schools is to promote knowledge (Young, 2011, p. 146). He does not agree with the perspective of education polices that view schools as “instruments of economic policy” and present alternative views to it. His perspective also challenges the social science concept of the role of schools in social and cultural reproduction.

Michael Young argues that government, education researchers, policy makers, and sociologists of education have ...
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