Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A. (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Mrs Sudha Rani Maheshwari, M.Sc (Zoology), B.Ed.

Former Principal, A.K.P.I.College, Roorkee, India

Society   is ever changing. We have to cope with this change and also to intelligently carve a desired way to prepare ourselves for  future. Education is the oldest and biggest enterprise of man, in terms of manpower engaged or number of human beings involved in its pursuit, with and to ensure harmonious, complete and all round development. It can, therefore, never be unplanned and aimless venture or purposeless activity. To think of ‘whys’ and ‘how’ of education, before we actually go in for it is a pre-requisite. Education without proper and well defined aims, objectives, goals and motives is quite unthinkable.

No educator can dare talk of education without mention of its goals, aim, purpose or objectives. An education without the knowledge of aims, objective and goals of education is like a sailor navigating a ship without the knowledge of destination and the route. So, aims are a must for education and need to be laid down explicitly.

Education is a purposeful and ethical activity and each activity as aspect has some aim before it. So, there is a close relationship between an activity and its aim.

An aim is a conscious purpose which we set before us, while   launching upon any activity. Just like that education is also unthinkable without aims. If there are no aims the educational process would not take place because an aim is a pre-determined goal which inspires the activity of education. If the aims all clear, definite and meaningful then the activity will go on till the end goal is achieved.

An aim is a foreseen end that gives direction to an activity or motivates behaviour. Aims are guide-lines in the educational process. Like the sun, aims illumine our life. The ignorance of right aims will spoil the whole educational system.

According to Encyclopaedia of Modern Education, “ Education is purposeful and ethical activity. Hence it is unthinkable without aims.” We cannot proceed in any walk of life without aim. For achieving success in activity of life, clear and well defined aim is essential. An educator without the knowledge of aims can be compared to a sailor who does not know his destination. This means that a system of education which is not clear about its aims or which has undesirable ends is bound to fail. Aims give foresight to the educational planner.

All our methods of teaching, our curriculum and our system of evaluation are shaped and moulded according to our aim of education. It is the ignorance of right aims that has vitiated our educational system, its methods and its products, and has successfully resulted in the physical, intellectual and moral weaknesses of the race. There is a great necessity of aims in education because of the following reasons:

If aim is known we can make efforts to that end. Educational aims keep the teacher and the taught on the right track. They provide a line of action and guidance to the teachers. They give direction and zest to the work of the pupils. Educational aims help us to avoid wastage in time and energy. In the words of John Dewey, “To have an aim is to act with meaning.” Aims help us to act intelligently and to act with a meaning. We know what is to be done and we straight away start doing that.

Educational aims help us to evaluate ourselves. They use to take stock of the results of our effort. The aim is a yard-stick with which we can measure our success and failure. They are necessary to assess the outcome of the educational process.

We as educators carefully evaluate the existing conditions i.e., contents of education, methods of teaching, efficiency of teaching, library equipment, planning of curricular and co-curricular activities in the light of our objective and plan for the future.

Aims of education are always influenced by the philosophy of life of the people of that country, for example Idealistic philosophy lays down different aims like education for self-realisation. Pragmatists have not faith in any fixed aim of education. The philosophy prevailing in the life of the people is reflected in the aims of education of that country.

Aims of Education in Idealism

The purpose of education is to contribute to the development of the mind and self of the learner. The education-imparting institute should emphasize intellectual activities, moral judgments, aesthetic judgments, self-realization, individual freedom, individual responsibility, and self-control in order to achieve this development.

In an idealistic education system emphasis should be placed on developing the mind, personal discipline, and character development. A person should be literate and of good moral character

The aim of education is to brings the child as close to Absolute Truth as possible. All of the aims of the idealist as educator find their ground in the conception of Ultimate Reality and the students’ relation to this Reality.

More specifically, the school can take a leading role in defining and refining our knowledge of Truth an the Absolute. The school has a responsibility to find and to train future leaders. As will be seen, much of the curriculum for the idealist is based on the study of earlier leaders.

In idealism, the aim of education is to discover and develop each individual’s abilities and full moral excellence in order to better serve society The school, as one of the social institutions concerned with the Absolute must make judgments as to what is right and what is wrong; thus, one of the aim of education would be to develop morality.

Another aim of education is the maintenance and transmission of the established values of the past. Once we have established that something is good, or true, or beautiful, it is a responsibility of the school to pass it one to succeeding generations.

Aims of Education in Naturalism

The naturalistic hierarchy of educational objectives represents a complete reversal of traditional purposes of the school, chiefly, perfecting of man’s highest powers via study of literature, philosophy, and classics

Education is for the body as well as the mind; and this should not be forgotten. Even if it were possible, there is no point in making a man mentally fit for life and neglecting hisphysical fitness The naturalist, as Herbert Spencer represents them, first regards the pupil from the physical side. For the child is at bottom a little animal, whatever else he may be. He has a body, or, to be more accurate, he is a body one of his first requirements therefore is that he be healthy, a vigorous animal, able to stand the wear and tear of living

Mind and body must both be cared for and the whole being of the student unfolded as a unit. . A child is bad because he is weak, make him strong and he will be good.”

Rousseau’s aim  is to show how a natural education, enables Émile to become social, moral, and rational while remaining true to his original nature. For it  he is educated to be a man, not a priest, a soldier, or an attorney, he will be able to do what is needed in any situation.

Since the naturalist denies the validity of any aims outside the natural sphere, their concern must be with immediate or proximate aims. Perhaps these aims might be summed in the dictum that schools should develop the “whole child,” that is, the entire natural organism. Whereas traditional education had placed major emphasis upon intellectual function, the naturalist proposes that the child be given opportunity to grow physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, aesthetically, vocationally, under the auspices of the school.

According to Spencer this can be achieved by “that education which prepares for direct and indirect self-preservation; that which prepares for parenthood; that which prepares for citizenship; that which prepares for the miscellaneous refinements of life.” Thus the school’s most important job as an educational agency is to see to it that the child learns how to preserve his own physical health and well-being. Preparation for citizenship and leisure time activities appear at  the end of the list and are of lesser importance.

“Complete living” is the general aim. As this is not very explicit term, it may be made more understandable by a parallel attempt at generalization. This impression is borne out by the specific objectives which are now to be discussed.

1. Self-preservation is the first of the five objectives. In order to live completely, as man has first of all to live, he has to continue his own existence. While instinct is the chief guarantee of this objective, education may also help by acquainting the learner with the laws of health and enabling him to earn a living.

2. Securing the necessities of life. It is especially in the realm of developing economic efficiency that education helps in preserving life. Money is not life, but it is a necessity in maintaining life. Education should train directly for success in this important function.

3. Raising children. Though a bachelor, Spencer held that the most important function that most men and women have to perform is that of being parents. Therefore education should deal unashamedly both with the care of children in the nursery and the discipline of them as growing boys and girls.

4. Maintenance of social and political relations. Beyond the home in the far-reaching social structure, man must have some understanding and mastery of social and political processes if living is to be complete. He must be a wise citizen who is equipped for effective social and political action.

5. Enjoyment of leisure. Life is not all serious struggles, keeping physically strong, earning a living, being a responsible parent and an earnest citizen. Complete living also includes freedom from struggle some of the time for “gratification of the tastes and feelings.”

Aims of Education in Pragmatism

The aim of education The aim of education according to pragmatism is dynamic in nature . According to pragmatists the main focus of education is not social heritage of the past, but the good life in the present and in the future. The standard of social good is constantly changing, so it should be tested and verified through changing experience. Life does not stand still and there is a constant need for improvement.

To have an aim is to act with meaning.-John Dewey, Democracy and Education

Pragmatists believe that the aims are always determined by individual not by any organization or any structure.  Perhaps the best statement of what might be called the pragmatist’s educational aims can be found in the writing of John Dewey. The aim for education is to teach children to be comfortable in their learning environment to an extent that children are living their life. Dewey believed in this type of environment that is not considered a preparation for life, but life. He believed that educators should know the things that motivate and interest children and plan accordingly. Dewey believed that aims should grow out of existing conditions, be tentative, and have an end view.

In Democracy and education, he wrote that education is “that reconstruction or reorganization of experience which adds to the meaning of experience, and which increases ability to direct the course of subsequent experience.” The aim that might be derived from the foregoing definition of education would include the helping of the child to develop in such a way as to contribute to his continued growth.

While Dewey disliked the use of the term aims in its usual sense because it implied an end and Dewey saw on final and permanent end to education, he did set down three characteristics of good educational aims. These were:

1. An educational aim must be founded upon the intrinsic activates and needs (including original instinct and acquired habits) of the given individual to be educated …… it is one thing to use adult accomplishments as a context in which to place and survey the doings of childhood and youth; it is quite another to set them up as a fixed aim without regard to the concrete activates of those educated.

2. An aim must be capable of translation into a method of cooperation with the activities of those undergoing instruction. It must suggest the kind of environment needed to liberated and to organize their capacities…. Until the democratic criterion of the intrinsic significance of every growing experience is recognized, we shall be intellectually confused by the demands for adaptation to external aims.

3. Educators have to be on their guard against ends that are alleged to be general and ultimate. Every activity, however specific is , of course, general in its ramified connection of possible future achievements, the less his present activity is tied down to a small number of alternatives. If one knew enough, one could star almost anywhere and sustain his activities continuously and fruitfully.

Thus, it would seem safe to say that for Dewey and the pragmatists the one “aim” in education is to provide the conditions that make growth possible.

Aims of Education in Realism

Realists do not believe in general and common aims of education. According to them aims are specific to each individual and his perspectives. And each one has different perspectives. The aim of education should be to teach truth rather than beauty, to understand the present practical life. The purpose of education, according to social realists, is to prepare the practical man of the world.

The science realists expressed that the education should be conducted on universal basis. Greater stress should be laid upon the observation of nature and the education of science. Neo-realists aim at developing all round development of the objects with the development of their organs.

The realist’s primary educational aim is to teach those things and values which will lead to the good life. But for the realist, the good life is equated with one which is in tune with the overarching order of natural law. Thus, the primary aim of education becomes to teach the child the natural and moral law, or at least as much of it as we know, so that his generation may lead the right kind life; one in tune with the laws to the universe. There are, of course, more specific aims which will lead to the goals already stated. For example, realists set the school aside as a special place for the accumulation and preservation of knowledge.

Realists just as other philosophers have expressed the aims of education in various forms. According to John Wild the aim of education is fourfold to discern the truth about things as they really are and to extend and integrate such truth as is known to gain such practical knowledge of life in general and of professional functions in particular as can be theoretically grounded and justified and finally to transmit this in a coherent and convincing way both to young and to old throughout the human community.

Breed expressing similar sentiments avers that the chief function of all education is direction of the learning process. Education should guide the student in discovering and knowing the world around him as this is contained in the school subjects.

Russell follows the same line of reasoning in his discussion of educational objectives. He too would not object to the school’s assisting the child to become a healthy happy and well-adjusted individual. But he insists that the prime goal of all school activities should be the development of intelligence. The well-educated person is one whose mind knows they would as it is. Intelligence is that human function which enables one to acquire knowledge. The school should do all in its power to develop intelligence.

Harry Broudy, a contemporary realist, proposes that the good life should be ultimate aim of education since it is the final goal of all human activity.

Aims of  Education in Existentialism

Existentialists have been quite consistent in their recommendation of educational aims which are in harmony with their philosophic views… Existentialism is concerned principally with liberal education, freeing man from his isolation and his anonymity, freeing his mind from the confusions that prevent him from seeing his situations and his powers.

Prior to starting this general objective for education, Harper had pointed up that the existentialist wants to educate the “whole child,” not just one side. This “whole-child” concept has been utilized by others, among them the instrumentalists. But the existentialist proposes a more individualistic notion, that is, the “unfolding of the individual as a whole in the situation in which he finds himself. The existentialist emphasizes those situations such as tragedy, guilt, suffering, and, death which happen to the individual rather than the group. Nietzsche voices the same view against “the general all genuine aims for education” in which the individual is lost sight of as an individual.

According to existentialist, education should make a man subjective and should make him conscious for his individuality or ‘self’. Being self conscious he will recognize his ‘self’ and he will get an understanding of his ‘being’. Individuality lies on self-realization, a motivating force, from an existential perspective; a sense of self-identity is gained by how an individual relates to and values his or her relations. The purpose of education is to build character, to optimize potential and creativity and to enhance the quality of life through knowledge, and then from an existentialist perspective bureaucratization needs to be replaced by humanization.

Education is that which helps an individual to realize the best that he is capable of. In doing so education must help the individual to realize the ‘fact city’ (contingency) of his existence to face the categories of this fact city – dread, anguish, anxiety and fear – resolutely and courageously and finally prepare him to meet death with pleasure.

Education for happiness is a dangerous doctrine because there can be no happiness without pain and no ecstasy without suffering.” Therefore, existentialists would welcome an education, which throws open to children human suffering, misery, anguish and the dreadful responsibilities of adult life.

Every individual is unique. Education must develop in him this uniqueness. It must cater to individual differences Education must make pupil aware of the infinite possibilities of his freedom and the responsibilities he must bear in life.

The most important aim in education is the becoming of a human person as one who lives and makes decisions about what he will do and be. “Knowing” in the sense of knowing oneself, social relationship, and biological development, is all the parts of becoming. Human existence and the value related to it is the primary factory in education.Education should train men to make better choices and also give the man the idea that since his choices are never perfect, the consequences cannot be predicted.

The ultimate aim of education is to make man conscious of his destination, to give understanding of his ‘being’ and ultimately lead him to his heavenly abode. So, it is clear that the existentialism accepts the principle of liberal education.

In short, the objective of education is to enable every individual to develop his unique qualities, to harness his potentialities and cultivate his individualities. It means the implication of existentialist formulations for child rearing education and counseling practices are many. Since existentialists behold human life as unique and emerging a child is to be recognized as a full person and not simple as an in complete adult. The practices by which the child is socialized varied from culture to culture.

Aims of Education in Humanism

The  “Epistemology” gives the clue to determining humanistic education aims. Since reason or intellect is man’s noblest quality it behooves educators to concentrate their efforts on the development of intellectual power.

It is true that noted humanists, such as Vives and Erasmus, mentioned character formation as a goal of education. Within the context of classroom instruction, however, moral education was definitely allotted a minor role. classroom activities were directed almost exclusively to the building of intellectual-verbal skills within the student. .

It seems, then, that for the humanist, the primary aim of the Education  as distinct from the broad notion of education carried on in the home, church, and social institutions, was the cultivation of the intellect of the student

The goal of education should be to foster students’ desire to learn and teach them how to learn. Students should be self-motivated in their studies and desire to learn on their own

As described by Gage and Berliner (1991) there are five basic objectives of the humanistic view of education:

  • promote positive self-direction and independence (development of the regulatory system);
  • develop the ability to take responsibility for what is learned (regulatory and affective systems);
  • develop creativity (divergent thinking aspect of cognition);
  • curiosity (exploratory behavior, a function of imbalance or dissonance in any of the systems);
  • and an interest in the arts (primarily to develop the affective/emotional system).

Humanism and Concept of teacher

The role of the teacher is important in successfully educating children. Theteacher  must capture the child’s interest and build on the natural motivation that exists. Teachers need to remember to vary their teaching methods to accommodate each individual learning style. Not all children learn at the same pace or are at the  same point; therefore, the teacher must vary his/her style. knowledge should be organized and relate to current experiences Teacher is a facilitator; helper; partner; promotes, but does not direct learning, sets mood for learning, acts as a flexible resource for learners

There are a variety of ways teachers can implement the humanist view towards education. Some of these include:

  • Allow the student to have a choice in the selection of tasks and activities whenever possible.
  • Help students learn to set realistic goals.
  • Have students participate in group work, especially cooperative learning, in order to develop social and affective skills.
  • Act as a facilitator for group discussions when appropriate.
  • Be a role model for the attitudes, beliefs and habits you wish to foster. Constantly work on becoming a better person and then share yourself with your students.

Humanistic educators believe that both feelings and knowledge are important to the learning process. Unlike traditional educators, humanistic teachers do not separate the cognitive and affective domains:

Aims of Education in Perennialism

Because human beings are essentially the same, education should be essentially the same for everyone. The function of a citizen may vary from society to society, but the function of man, as a man, is the same in every age and in every society since it results from his nature as a man. “The aim of an educational system … is to improve man as man

For Perennialists, the aim of education is to ensure that students acquire understandings about the great ideas of Western civilization. These ideas have the potential for solving problems in any era. The focus is to teach ideas that are everlasting, to seek enduring truths which are constant, not changing, as the natural and human worlds at their most essential level, do not change. A Perennialist views nature, human nature, and the underlying principles of existence as constant. The principles of knowledge are enduring. Truth never changes

Education should be for the “long-haul,” not for the immediate, contemporary fad. It is not the job of the school to meddle in contemporary problems, social reform, and political action. It is the job of the school to provide an education on the basis of which education, students later after graduation can rationally initiate the efforts for social reform, change, and political action.

At least the ultimate aims of educations – are held to be the same for all men in all times and places. But, just what are these aims? They are the development of the intellectual and spiritual capabilities of the individual to their highest level. The lay perennialist is, of course, primarily concerned with developing the intellect. The school need not concern itself wit the social graces or the physical well-being of the student except insofasr as they are necessary for the intellectual training of the child.

Aim of Education in Analytic Philosophies

As might be expected, the analysist’s deny that the goals of schooling can be reduced from any reduced from any mystical or rationalistic source. Some one captained that philosophy promises truth and delivers only some quibbles about its definition. Similarly, the linguist concentrate on asking us what we ‘mean’ when we talk about aims and objectives ‘ought to be’. Gotesky differentiates means, ends-in-view, anticipations, and outcomes. Perkinson argues that educational aims are hypothetical rather than categorical and that they are empirically testable when a sufficient context is supplied. Peters even holds that it is irrelevant for the teacher to have aims, since this concept does not apply to what happens in teaching, as the aims are not always in plain sight. Specific aims such as life adjustment equality, intellectual growth and mental health, have been analyse linguistically in articles, by Ballenger, Blackings ton, Broody, Cooing, Konica, Lieberman, O’Conner and others.

Aims  of Education in Marxism

Unlike their American counterparts who can agree upon no ultimate goal, Communist educators are in perfect accord that the ultimate purpose of education is “strengthening the communistic  state and the building of a Classless society.” All other objectives are subsidiary. This central aim supplies the rationale for the curriculum, teaching methods, teacher-pupil freedom and discipline in the schools, which agency shall have responsibility for education, and who shall be educated.

It is worth noting that this ultimate aim of education is derived from and is wholly in harmony with the Marxist conception of change and morality. All changes is directed toward achieving a classless society in the Communist millennium: Communist morality also has the same end insofar as the criterion of all morality is the extent to which behavior contributes to or detracts from the attainment of a classless society.

Any method or technique which detracts from this central concept is unacceptable any or technique which fosters it is highly desirable. Obviously, the classroom teacher needs some “down-to-earth” objectives as guides for his daily lessons. One can locate some of the proximate goals which guide the teacher.

  • The development of knowledge in the academic areas such as mathematics, science, foreign language, and history. But knowledge or science for its own sake must be abhorred. All knowledge has a social purpose, the service of the state.
  • Competence in those vocational fields for which the greatest demand exists, such as technology and agriculture.
  • Respect for public property. Great emphasis is placed on this objective since youth are inclined to be careless with things which do not belong to them
  • Development of good health habits. Youth can be of little service to society if they are not physically fit..
  • Training of the will of students so that they will understand and conform to party discipline for the good of socialist society.
  • Development of habits of industriousness which will motivate the person to put forth maximum effort for the common good.
  • . Creation of a courageous spirit in ever Communist to enable him to fight for Communist to enable him to fight for Communism and against capitalism in both hot and cold wars. D
  • . The promotion and spread of atheism in Communist lands and throughout the world. Only when men’s minds are freed from the superstitions of theism with all its capitalistic connotations will they be freed for the work of international Communism.
  • Development of aesthetic perception to enable the student to distinguish the beautiful and the harmonious from the ugly and the vulgar.
  • Acquisition of habits governing manners, dress, and social behaviour.
  • . Developing “initiative and independent thought” in harmony with the goal of Marxist-Leninist ideology.

This rather lengthy list of educational objectives should dispel the notion that schools in Communist countries are narrowly academic. In fact, since the Khrushchev era, Soviet educators have been openly critical of the intellectualistic goals of education during the Stalin era. The Communist conceives the role of the school as one which should develop the “whole child,” not merely his intellectual powers


“The aim of education should be to teach us rather how to think, than what to think – rather to improve our minds, so as to enable us to think for ourselves, than to load the memory with the thoughts of other men.” James Beattie 





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