Today, education is viewed as a vital key to success in life, and knowledge has become every individual’s aim or concern. Each one of us is born in a different medium and of different social and cultural norms; however, most of us approve of education’s positive effects on society. Therefore, ‘Why do we need education? ’ and ‘why do we think education is important? ’ is the issue to tackle. To get a better grip of this complex theme we have to distinguish three different types of education, there is the formal education, like school, the lifetime education, learning through difficult situations and the education by our parents.
To lead a successful country we have to keep it on a standard level of education to be able to impart the cultural heritage to the younger generations. There is again a division to be made between the inherited education or knowledge, and the education taught at school. With a good education of the younger generation, the government takes care of the progress in the development of the country. But a good education is not just useful for the progress of the country; the aspiration for advancement lies in the nature of every human creature.
People wake up every morning with the goal to make new experiences, which enriches their standard of life. Another factor in today’s democratic society is the people’s striving for the latest information. People in our days do actually have the will to know what is going on in the world around them, they want to know what the government needs all the tax money for, they want to understand what a new law is supposed to mean and all this would be impossible without a good formal education.
This is just the approach of an unrestricted person in a democratic country, but we must view it with the eyes of the leader of a dictatorship, like Napoleon in Animal Farm. Under the regime of Napoleon Squealer would not have had a chance of convincing his comrades, if these comrades had experienced a good education? All the animals would have revolted against the pigs, but they were astonished by the pigs’ intelligence and their ability to read and write. Due to their lack of education they did not question the pigs, when they were forced to work on Sundays.
In a democracy where the majority of the people decide what happens in politics, a good formal education is quite important. The state has to provide a chance for a good education to achieve the best results in the organization of the community. More precisely, the perceived goal of education to make the individual and the society ‘better’ in some qualitative sense seems to missing in its current form. In our rush to get everybody educated, we do not consider it important to ask ourselves why we need education. An idealist notion about the necessity of education has been taken for granted.
If fact this notion has been so strongly developed that we are taught to overlook the shortcomings in the implementation of this activity. Both independent groups, who have chosen to work in the field of education, and expert committees have only suggested ways of improving the effectiveness of present education system without addressing themselves to the more basic issues of the purpose of the entire activity. Such people often choose to ignore the disturbing trends, mentioned above, and associated with the education system.
Most of the people will refuse to link the malaise in the system to the basic nature of the system itself, considering it to be a disorder which could be taken care of by implementing proper machinery. Such assumptions need to be questioned. Some experts tend to analyze the present education system, which will raise questions at such basic levels. When so much resources and the prime time of our children and youth are being given over to the education system, we as a society need to find out the achievement of this system in real terms.
However, in this evaluation one must be prepared to dispense with the assumption that the modern education system, or some close variant of it, is absolutely indispensable, for on close examination this kind of education system itself appears to be at fault. Let us first take a look at why people perceive education to be a desirable thing. The most common answer was that education makes people progressive in some sense and is necessary for the advancement of a civilized society. Next, people thought that it imparts knowledge.
Lastly, very few people admitted, and that too quite hesitatingly, that it provides employment opportunities. It is interesting that educated people in formal conversation find it improper to voice the most popularly held view among the people that education opens up more job opportunities. It is probably a sign of their being ‘civilized’, which is quoted as the most important reason for getting educated. We will take up the issues of what people mean when they say that education makes one civilized or imparts knowledge, later. First we will look at the notion of education opening up job opportunities.
It turns out that when parents send their children to school they are essentially seeking a ‘secure future’ for them, which basically means that their children upon getting educated would become eligible for salaried jobs. Even if they do not realize it, the societal norm, which compels them to have their children go to school, is guided by the same motivation. In fact, this pressure is so great that no parent can even think of doing otherwise. Considering that modern education system incurs some expenditure on the part of parents, it can easily be identified as a middle and upward class activity.
Since the nature of such jobs is essentially of clerical type, there is almost no scope to exercise an individual’s creativity. Most people, even those possessing highest of academic qualifications, cannot derive satisfaction out of their jobs. To compensate for the unproductive nature of jobs they have to be paid higher wages than can be earned otherwise. This creates an economic gap between the salaried class and the class of people who depend on their hard labor and often engaged in production activities, which sustain the economy.
It is primarily this high salary level accompanied by the associated proximity to ruling classes, which becomes the motivating factor for any parents taking a decision to get their children educated. Since the education system is also designed to produce merely a ‘clerical’ class, upon the completion of their education programs the youth seek fixed salary and low risk secure jobs. So long as the primary function of our education system continues to be serving the interests of the ruling class, no change can be expected to be brought about by it.
Fortunately we are forced to re-examine our education system because, firstly, it is failing to provide jobs to everybody, and, secondly, to the people it has provided jobs, it is failing to provide satisfaction. In any case, the myth that education opens up more job opportunities needs to be dispensed with. One has to develop the concept of knowledge as a complete understanding of oneself and one’s environment in relation to it, and furthermore, evolving a program of living at the four stages of the self, the family, the society and nature, so that there is complete harmony among all the stages.
The task of education is described as making people familiar with this entire concept. Under such a system the objective of education is determined as the realization of a just human order. This human centered thought identifies the two types of needs of human beings – material and human values – and offers a program for the satisfaction of both. Education helps the human beings understanding these processes better and hence is more meaningful for life. The education system is trying to serve fruitful purposes in the society by keeping a handful of people in jobs.
A larger objective of creating a healthy society is where all the needs of all human beings can be satisfied easily. Every country has a different education system. However, differences include teaching styles, credit system, and even student life. Lebanon is a developing country, so we need many talented people to build the country. That is why we need to have a good education system because it is an important factor for future economic development. Lebanon’s wealth is measured by his educated population and not by his gold nor by his oil.
Lebanon’s education system is improving to get a higher education system like the developed countries and even better. Therefore, the process of education is considered so important in our society that no parents, who can afford it, can imagine having their children go uneducated. It has become such an integral part of our lives that for most people, completing the process of education appears to be a matter of habit. Others, who have so far remained outside this process, are now being covered by the literacy programmes of the government and various non-governmental organizations.