Education is one of the most important aspects of the development of the Human Society. In fact, it is the earliest influencer on a human being outside their family. Education is what prepares us for the society. Education lays the foundation for our survival skills. Literacy Skills and Numeracy Skills lay the foundation for our ongoing education in social skills. Language skills teach us to read, write and speak. Numeracy skills help us survive in the world of numbers and the world of money. Money is a means of survival, as it is the medium of transaction.
In the early human beings, education was not a structured phenomenon. In fact, I wouldn’t even call it Education, since learning wasn’t structured in the early human beings. It was just Learning. We just acquired the skills of various trades from the experts, or the parents as early humans. Education is about Learning, but Learning by itself isn’t Education. At best, the unstructured Learning of the early humans, to some extent, happened because of Training. But it wasn’t education.
What is Education then? The basic paradigm of Education, as the educationists define it, is fulfilling the Instructional Gap. Let us say, the subject (the learner) is at a level X of certain competency; and they are expected to be at another competency level called Y. So there is a gap called (Y-X) that exists for that person. This gap called the Instructional Gap, is fulfilled by designing a Courseware, or a Curriculum. Developing the learner’s competency by implementing the curriculum, is what is called Education.
Generally speaking school education is the basic social education, whereby the individual steps into the real world created by humans. It is the world which works on Money. It works on exchange of goods which we need for survival, luxury and various other purposes. In the early days of humanity, we only needed skills required for food, clothing and shelter during our hunter / gatherer days. However when we discovered organized farming, we discovered the ways to live in a community or a society. And my assumption is that, that is the time we started to think as a species. We started to think creatively. We started to think of things other than just survival, i.e. food, clothing and shelter. The animal-like life, which is perhaps instinctive and inherent to us, wasn’t the way to go in the organized social structure. Organised farming involved use of animals. It involved inventing newer tools for farming. We discovered ways of using metals for designing the tools. We discovered ways of cutting wood, designing stone tools (not necessarily in that order). When we had excess produce, we learned to barter with others. We found more time to ourselves and we found creative ways of entertaining ourselves. We invented arts. We learned languages. We learned to communicate. And we found ways of standard practices for the society to work in a homogeneous manner. This needed for us to know the social skills, tool making skills, productivity skills; and thus arose the need for Education.
Education isn’t just about learning at an individual level, but it is about learning at a mass level. When a curriculum is implemented, though every individual is expected to achieve its outcomes, it is implemented at a mass level – so that a group of individuals achieves the same outcome(s). Thus we get a bunch of people (society) thinking alike. And thus, we have achieved Education, rather than just skill training.
Education isn’t about teaching, it is about Learning. The outcomes of a course are the Learning Outcomes. It is not about whether the teacher has taught. It is about whether the learner has learnt. And thus, we have a society that’s educated – i.e. people who think like a modern man. So Education is an integral aspect of the modern society, or the civilized world.