What is the purpose of education? Part 1.


It’s a great question to ask ourselves as we may possibly take a moment to reflect on our entire lives, our children’s lives and all of those who are yet to come into the world to learn about life and our purpose within it. No biggy 🙂

This question may even prompt us to consider, ‘if and how education has changed over the years?’ And I’m talking right back… thousands of years when philosophers including Plato taught about this very subject in such a way that still offers such insight for us all to this very day.

Having said that what even defines education? We can’t respond to the question, ‘what is the purpose of education?’ when we are not super clear on what education even is to us.

Like really…

It is worth taking a moment to ponder, as it is possible our responses have been shaped & even limited based on what we have been told education is.

For example:

Is ones relationship with ‘getting an education’ determined by attending years of school or University?

Do we need a certificate and our portrait taken in a graduation gown to confirm our status as ‘educated?’

Does our education cease when we are no longer enrolled in an education system?

What about all of the people in the world who never get the opportunity to go to school?

“It is estimated almost 70 million children across the world are prevented from going to school each day.”

Does this mean they are not educated or privy to life’s lessons?

Let’s Google the 2016 definition of education shall we…

Oxford states:

– The process of receiving or giving systematic instruction. Especially at a school or university.

– The theory and practice of teaching

– A body of knowledge acquired while being educated

Now let’s search educate and see if there is a difference?

– Give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to (someone, especially a child), typically at a school or university

– Provide or pay for instruction for (one’s child,) especially at a school.

– Give (someone) training in or information on a particular field

I wonder what the etymology of the word educate even is? Because reading the above definitions from my lived experience as a student who has been through the primary, secondary and university system, to now whereby I am a qualified primary school teacher, I feel this definition falls far, far, far (I can’t emphasise this enough!) short of it’s true meaning in it’s entirety. It is this very strong knowing of ‘there is more to it’ ‘there is way more to education’ than a teacher teaching skills and passing on knowledge (to children) in a school or university.

I recognise the importance of asking this question simply because, so often words have a way of being reinterpreted over time. It’s like playing Chinese whispers with the truth and never bothering to go back to the original source to seek the truth once again. We see this so clearly with the big ones like religion, love and God. Gosh people even go to war over these words, defending their interpreted version over another.

Given that a bastadisation of the true meaning of words is so commonly the case, whereby we have a world filled with millions of people all spouting out and living their separate versions of what they claim to be the truth and the way. Then we can see it is more than possible this has occurred for the word education? And if this is so, how fragmented has the word education become from the whole truth and the original purpose it first came from?

In knowing how words get interpreted and re-intrepeted, that in effect influence the quality of how people live, speak, move, connect, don’t connect… let’s see what comes up when we search the origin of the word educate … click.

Wow, so interesting.

The Latin meaning of the word of education is edu-care. There are a number of words that are commonly used to describe edu-care including: to bring forth, to draw out, to support and to nurture the growth of.

Gosh, reading those few simple words alone feels so very different from the modern day definition, and this is only scratching the surface of the origins of the word education and all it beautifully offers us.

Now, for the sake of writing a blog that is not a million words long, as I am getting the bursting sense there is so much to write on this one word alone. The purpose of Part 1 specifically of this blog is to simply offer the question:

What is the purpose of education?

And does this purpose change when we ask

What is the purpose of edu-care?

When we consider… and possibly re-consider what the truth of this question is asking of us today, is it possible we will be reminded of the essence of the word education, and how nurturing and bringing out all that is there within, is a system that will truly develop us for life, not just a career.





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