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

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.

In the words of John Dewey “An aim is a foreseen end that gives direction to an activity or motivates behavior”.

The Criteria of Good Aims.

( 1) The aim set up must be an outgrowth of existing conditions. It must be based upon a consideration of what is already going on; upon the resources and difficulties of the situation.

(3) The aim as it first emerges is a mere tentative sketch. The act of striving to realize it tests its worth. If it suffices to direct activity successfully, nothing more is required, since its whole function is to set a mark in advance; and at times a mere hint may suffice. An aim must, then, be flexible; it must be capable of alteration to meet circumstances

(3) The aim must always represent a freeing of activities. The term end in view is suggestive, for it puts before the mind the termination or conclusion of some process. The only way in which we can define an activity is by putting before ourselves the objects in which it terminates –

Characteristics found in all good educational aims.

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.

Importance of Educational Aims

According to Encyclopedia 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 molded 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:

  1. To direct efforts : 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.
  2. To evaluate ourselves : 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.
  3. To evaluate the existing conditions :  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.

4.  To provide efficient school administration : Aims are necessary for efficient school administration and organization. They help the school authorities in organizing, equipping, and administering the school. Various aspects of school administration and organization such as proper selection of teachers, proper curricular and co-curricular activities, are guided by educational aims. It is rightly said that good schools evolve out of enlightened aims. 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.

Factors Determining Educational  Aims

Many factors have been contributing and do contribute to the determining of educational aims. These factors touch every phase of human life that was, that is or what will be.

1.Factors associated with  Philosophy of life : Aims of education are always  influenced by the philosophy of life of the people of that country. Idealistic philosophy lays down different aims like education for self-realization. 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.

2. Factors associated with   Psychology : The aims of education should be according to the nature, needs, requirements, inspiration and interest of the learners. If the aims of education are not in tune with the music of life, they will prove futile, useless, fruitless and ineffective. The aims of education should relate knowledge with the activities of life.

3. Factors associated with  Socio-economic problem : Besides, political ideologies, the social economic problems of a country, determine the aims of education. Education is vital force, which can silently, bury the socio-economic problems. It can thus evolve a society based on equality, co-operation and socialistic ideals.

4. Factors associated with  Political ideology : Political ideologies also help in determining the aims of education. Different political ideologies like democratic, totalitarian, fascist or communist etc. will fix different aims for education in the state. The aims of education under democratic state are flexible and change according to changing needs and conditions of many on the contrary in a totalitarian state. The aims of education are fixed in accordance with the ideology of the state to uphold the right of state.

5. Factors associated with   exploration of knowledge : Education has also to give due consideration to the advancements in knowledge as for as the question of educational aims are concerned. Education today has become science oriented all over the world. As other countries, in India also more and more stress is being laid on the study of modern sciences. This clearly shows that the spreading of new knowledge is an important factor in determining aims of education.

6. Factors associated with  Culture : Cultural heritage of a country also determine the aims of education. It is the most important function of the education to develop and preserve the cultural heritage. The changing and developing pattern of cultural factors directly influence the aims of education.

7. Factors associated with  Religion : Religious factor also influence the aims of education. Education and religion have close relationship. They affect society in different ways. In India although there is no state religion, yet different religious view points influence the aims of education. There are many large number of institutions run by different religious organization. They have to work to realize the aims accordingly.

General Aims of Education

Each individual teacher has an opinion about what the aim of education should be, not only in their own classroom but also in school in general. Many issues occur when differing opinions about the purpose of education collide. It is important to recognize that other people, including many of your co-workers, administrators, and your students’ parents might have a different point of view concerning what education should be all about. Following is a list of different aims of education that individuals might espouse.

A -. To Develop Social Skills

This might be considered another old school belief. However, this is held by many individuals, especially within the larger community. Students will some day be a part of a larger community and need the skills and mores to exist within that society as thoughtful citizens.. In many ways, this has taken on the popular view of a global citizen in a world that is coming closer together because of advances in technology.

B-. To Teach Students The Art of Living

Some individuals look at school in a more holistic manner. They see it as the means towards right living for the rest of their lives. Not only do students learn information in their individual subjects, but they also learn life lessons in and out of class. As previously explained, proper work etiquette is reinforced in the classroom. Further, students have to learn how to deal with others in a cooperative manner. Finally, they learn about how to learn information they might need in the future. In fact, one of the things that many business leaders cite as being necessary for future workers is the ability to work as part of a team and problem solve.

C-. To Learn How to Learn

Some teachers focus on their own subject matter as being more important than others. Even though they might not normally mention this out loud, their actions speak louder than words. Teachers who are unwilling to compromise their own subject matter for the good of the students would fit in this case.

Learning how to learn is one of the key elements of education. Helping students so that they know where to find information once they leave school is essential in most career paths. Therefore, those who share this aim feel that it is not the specific

D-  To Develop Balanced Personality

While the self esteem movement often gets ridiculed, we do want our students to feel confident about their learning abilities. The problem comes in with inflated self esteem not based on reality. However, this is often cited as an aim of the educational system.

E-To Develop Lifelong Habits for Work

Many of the lessons that school teaches are necessary for success in their future lives. They need to be able to get to work on time, dress appropriately, behave appropriately, and get their work done in a timely manner. These lessons are what are reinforced on a daily basis in schools around the nation. Some individuals see this as one of the main aims of sending students to school This old school belief holds that school is important in providing students with the knowledge they need to get by in their day-to-day lives. They need to know how to read, write, and do arithmetic. Many educators today would probably not agree that this should be the extent of a student’s education. However, it does form the foundation.

G- Knowledge of Subject Matter Being Taught

Individual Aims of Education:

Education prepares the pupil for becoming good individuals. Good individuals can realize his rights and perform his duties properly. The school should do its best for developing the child’s personality in all aspects and for bringing out his innate abilities to their full growth. T.P. Nunn, a strong advocate of individualism in education, has forcefully laid down “that nothing good enters into the human world except in and through the free activities of individual man and woman and that educational practice must be shaped to accord with that truth”.

Bertrand Russell, another distinguished individualist argues that everybody should be a good individual first and then everything else. The potentialities of an individual should be developed at first and then be utilized for him as well as for the society.

Russell has further pointed out that if individualism is not properly developed, none can achieve distinction in life. Laski, Huxley and Proper, the famous supporters of individualism have also opined that the welfare of the society can be built upon the well-being of the individuals.

Narrow Meaning of individual Aim : In the narrow sense, individual aim of education is given names like Self-expression, All round Development of Child’s Power and Natural Development. In this sense this aim of education is based on naturalistic philosophy. According to this, aim of education is based on naturalistic philosophy.

According to this philosophy, the child should be given complete freedom to develop according to his instincts.

Wider Meaning of Individual Aim: In the wider sense, development of individuality as an aim of education, can be described as ‘Self-realization’. According to this meaning, while keeping in view needs, interests and abilities, the child should be given all those opportunities which may help him in total development of all his powers and in making him an excellent individual.

Arguments in favor of Individual Aim

The following are generally advanced in favor of individual aim of education :–

1.  Based on  Psychological principles : Each child has distinct instincts and inherent tendencies. If he is not allowed to behave according to his nature and contrary to his social ideals together with social forms of behavior are forced upon him, he will become a mental patient. Tension, stress and mental conflict will develop in him with result that he will become a deceased and maladjusted individual. This has established the fact that interests, inclinations, aptitudes, capacities and needs of each child are distinct from the other. Hence, the main aim of education should be to develop the unique individuality of each child according to his nature in a natural way.

2. Based on Biological principles : Biological science asserts that as each child has an individuality of his own. His innate nature cannot be changed by any means. As such child is distinct entity, a new organization and a new experiment of life, the aim of education can be nothing else but to develop his unique individuality, naturally and distinctly. It is an admitted fact that when natural development of individuality has been suppressed, evil consequences have occurred. The first and the second world wars and their evil consequences are the glaring examples of such repressionistic philosophy.

3.   Based on  Progressive attitude : For his own good, the individual creates society to preserve, purify and transmit its culture to the rising generation so that the development of individual will naturally lead to the development of society. Hence, the aim of education should be the autonomous development of individuality.

4.  Based on Democratic  values : Every democratic country insisting upon the freedom of individuals, emphasise the fact that the aim of education should be the development of good citizens. It may be noted that good citizens develop from good persons. Hence, the aim of education should be the development of unique individuality of the individual.

Arguments against Individual Aim

The following arguments are generally advanced against individual aim of education:–

1.Possibility of Social Disintegration : Individual aim provides full freedom and unrestricted liberty to all individuals, such unrestricted liberty and freedom for all individuals will result in indiscipline, conflicts and tension which will start the process of social disintegration. Hence it is unwise to grant unrestricted freedom to the individual.

2.  Not applicable to Real Life : Acceptable of this aim presupposes that each child should be provided all facilities and opportunities to develop himself in his own way and according to his own interests and inherent tendencies. To achieve this aim the formulation of aims and construction of curriculum for each child shall be essentially different  from the others. This is almost impossible and impracticable presumption beyond the capacity and resources of even the richest country of the world.

3. Encourages  Individualism : Individual aim makes individual selfish  Individual aim of education will make individuals self-conceited and proud and this may lead to immoral behavior and unhealthy attitudes. The society will suffer  under the consequences of individualism. Individuality cannot develop from a vacuum; it develops in a social atmosphere. Unless society develops, individual cannot develop.

4. Disregard of  Social obligations : Maximum freedom may go against the society.  Each individual is a social animal. He develops his personality with the cooperation of society. Hence ,it is the prime duty of the individual to pay back this debt of society by working his best for the welfare of society. Unless he does this, his life will be a mere waste. Hence, it is no use, then to drum best the individual aim of education.

5. Disregard of Ethical values : Individual aim of education emphasizes the individual differences of children. If too much emphasizes on the individual differences then it will be very difficult to develop love, sympathy, sacrifice, service, co-operation and other moral values in children.

6. Encourages arbitrary actions : Individual aim of education provides unlimited and unrestricted freedom to the individual which makes him a man of arbitrary decisions and reckless actions. Thus, the power of reasoning and argumentation cannot develop properly in the children if this aim is blindly accepted.

Social Aim of Education

Man lives and gets his needs satisfied only in the society. Aristotle, the Greek philosopher has aptly said that the man who does not live in the society is either a god or a beast.

According to the social aim of education, the individual has to be prepared as an integral part of the society. There should be full control of the society over the individual.

The extreme form of social aim of education views the state as the glorified individual. The state therefore, must have absolute control over the lives and activities of the individuals. Education is the means of exercising this control. The will of the state is to be reflected in the curriculum, methods and materials of the education system.

In the ancient Sparta, a Greek city State and modern Germany under Nazi regime, such state control on education was excessive. The whole education was an exercise of obedience and brutal punishment was given for any misconduct or disobedience.

Another group of educationists like Bagley and Dewey hold that social aim of education is to bring about social efficiency in the individual. Such social efficiency is the test for judging the success of educational practice.

The social aim is quite in opposition to the individual aim. The supporters of this aim believe that society is considered to be more important than the individual. They are of the view that man is a social, acquires socialization through his personality only in society. He lives in society, acquires socialization through his contact with his family, his relatives, his neighbors and friends. He learn the ways of moving in society, of talking to people, of mutual behaviour through these contacts. Moreover, through these contacts with others he satisfies his own physical and psychological needs. He cannot hope to exist outside society.

Narrow Meaning of Social Aim :

In its narrow meaning, social aim of education is equated with state socialism. Where liberty of the individual is totally curtailed and all aspect of individual life are socialized. Total power is concentrated in the state. An individual cannot even dream of his individual identity. As such, the state frames such a scheme of education through which it is able to control the aims, curriculum and the methods of teaching. Individuals are subjected to rigid discipline to curb their sense of identity and individualism.

Wider Meaning of Social Aim:

In its wider sense, the social aim is equated with democratic socialism. In this sense, it does not agree with the insignificance of the individual24 before the state, but is made to behave in such ways that it ensures the development of society along with its own development. Thus, in wider meaning the social aim grants liberty to the individual to enjoy certain rights to develop his personality, but at the same time expects from the individual to serve the state to the best of his ability and capacity.

In short, wider meaning of social aim of education finds expression in such rallying cries as ‘Education for social service’, and aims at the good of the community, Laying stress on teaching citizenship in school, through various subjects in the curriculum and through various social activities. This democratic view of social aim of education is applauded in India, Great Britain, America and other democratic powers.

Arguments in Support of Social Aim

The following arguments are given in favour of social aim :–

(1)      Society is just like a huge human body. Just as all the parts of the body get sustenance from the fulfilment of all the needs of the body, much in the same way each individual is benefited, the whole society gets developed in all its aspect. Hence, society should be assigned more value and importance than the individuals.

(2) Each individual born with animal or raw instincts according to the heredity phenomenon. It is the magic of social environment that develops into a human being from his animal stage. As such, education should emphasis social welfare.

(3) Culture and civilization are born and developed in society. Hence, it is the duty of every individual to serve society in order to maintain and develop both.

(4) Society or state is an indispensable need. Without society, peace and justice cannot be maintained. Thus, individuals should be prepared to maintain society or the state even at the cost of their lives.

(5) In the words of Raymont, “An isolated individual is a figment of imagination.” Hence, individual must make society stable and well organized.

(6) Society provides opportunities for the individuals to live together in groups so that they are able to make discoveries and new inventions to lead a happy life.

Thus, individual should be all pervaded with feeling of social service and sacrifice.

Arguments against Social Aims of Education

The following arguments are given in against of social aim:-

Unpsychological base : This aim is unpsychological. It neglects individual differences and emphasizes to prepare the individuals to fulfil the needs and requirements of the society or the state.The protagonists of this aim consider man as means only for the social good or national welfare. It should be remembered that his concept of individual makes him very insignificant

Discourages individual freedom: Social aim opposes individual freedom. There is a complete regimentation of ideas and feelings. Under a totalitarian from of government, this aim make the individual a mere puppet in the hands of unscrupulous statesmen. Thus his individuality will be crushed. It is felt that education should not stand for the suppression of individuality. It should rather work for its exaltation. It makes individual only a tool of government.

Discourages development of aesthetic values : Development of art and literature depends upon individual’s devoted efforts. As have stated that under social aim there is no place for individual freedom. Hence according to this aim of education there will be hindrance in the development of art and literature.

Discourages intellectual and moral development : Over emphasis on this aim will stand as an obstacle in the way of intellectual and character development and emotional integration. Horne is also of this view.

Encourages  national jingoism : This aim of education will develop narrow nationalism. The idea or the belief of “my country, right or wrong” will take place. Such a frame of mind will block the progress and lead to narrow-mindedness, blunt thinking and unscientific understanding. The idea of my country right or wrong has brought about two world wars.

The Synthesis of Individual and Social aims:

The present century has been called a century of compromises. It is possible to have a synthesis between individual and social aim. Individual and society are complementary to each other. The individual is the product of society, and the society, in its own turn finds its fulfillment in the development of its individual members. While talking of proper synthesis between individual and society we imagine an ideal nation26 where individual and society should be combined together, where the aims of one should not interfere with those of the other, where both should always be trying to prove beneficial to each other. Such society will be helpful in the development of individual. No individual can develop in a social vacuum. An individual can develop only in a progressive society and the society can achieve a high degree of excellence with developed individuals

The perfection of the individual and good of  the community. Isolated individual is the figment of the society. Thus the function of education is to enable him to be an active participant in a programme of social regeneration on the other hand. Individual is of no value, and personality is a meaningless term apart from social environment, self-realization can be achieved only through social service, and social ideals of real value can come into being only through individuals who have developed valuable individuality. This circle cannot be broken,

Another fact related to it is that individual should have feeling of sacrifice for the society. He should always be careful about the welfare of the society. Thus education has two-fold aspects. Individual aim and social aim of education go independently. Both are opposing to each other. It is not in reality. Neither the individual nor the society can exist. The individual is the product of the society while society finds its advancement in the development of its individual member.

There is no conflict between self-realization and social service (individual and social aim). They are rather one and the same. They are the suitable ideal of life and education. We can make this world a richer, nobler and happier place only by promoting both. Both are complementary and can be pursued at the same time.

An aim denotes the result of any natural process brought to consciousness and made a factor in determining present observation and choice of ways of acting. It signifies that an activity has become intelligent. Specifically it means foresight of the alternative consequences attendant upon acting in a given situation in different ways, and the use of what is anticipated to direct observation and experiment. A true aim is thus opposed at every point to an aim which is imposed upon a process of action from without. The latter is fixed and rigid; it is not a stimulus to intelligence in the given situation, but is an externally dictated order to do such and such things. Instead of connecting directly with present activities, it is remote, divorced from the means by which it is to be reached. Instead of suggesting a freer and better balanced activity, it is a limit set to activity. In education, the currency of these externally imposed aims is responsible for the emphasis put upon the notion of preparation for a remote future and for rendering the work of both teacher and pupil mechanical and slavish.





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