The main task of education is to produce useful, intelligent, patriotic, emotionally integrated, morally strong, cultured, scientifically tempered and healthy young men and women. In short, the aim and objective of education should be proper integration and harmony between feeling, thinking and doing. Education should produce people properly adjusted with the rhythm of life, and this cannot be achieved unless there is the much desired adjustment between rhythms of mind and heart in the individual. One of the primary aims of education is to develop character. Now, character is a very comprehensive term and means not only pattern of behaviour of an individual but also moral strength, mental presence, self-discipline, fortitude, and reputation, etc. Most of our modern problems have their origin in our lack of strong moral character. The modern age has been suffering from the crisis of character. If the character of the people is improved, many of the problems would take care of themselves.
If the character of the people of a country is strong, it will be very easy to overcome any crisis, however great. It is said that if character is lost, everything is lost. What makes a man, really a man in the true sense of the term, is his character. Without character a man is nothing but a beast, a mere organism, just existing selfishly without any values and ethical sense. According to a poet, “Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.” Thus, the men of character are the men of destiny.
Only those with strong moral characters have capabilities to control and guide the destinies of nations and the world. Mahatma Gandhi was such a man of character and so also a man of destiny. So were Go hale, Tilak, Rajendra Babul, Vivekananda and Sub hash Bose. The aim of education should be to make our students follow in the footsteps of these men of strong character and destiny. The education imparted in our schools, colleges and universities should be such as to mould the personalities of the students, to enable them to face the realities of life with courage and confidence.
In this context, the valuable concept of Basic Education championed by Mahatma Gandhi comes to mind. Basic education means that it should be based on work experience. It should not be theoretical and isolated but intimately related with a student’s social and family background and relevant to the needs of the society. Work and training should form an integral part of education and not be an isolated activity. It should aim at producing artisans, craftsmen, doctors, engineers, technicians, teachers and other such professionals who may set up their own workshops, factories, mills, dispensaries, and schools, etc. and also fill up the vacant posts advertised by the government and other agencies.
It only means that education should be work and employment-oriented. The essence of education and training lies in the removal of unemployment by producing skilled, talented and well-trained personnel and professionals. One of the main purposes of education should be to equip the people with means to face the problem of unemployment. No education worth its name can divert itself from the responsibility of providing suitable careers to people.
This utilitarian aspect of education is as important as that of emotional and spiritual development. Education should also aim at achieving national integration and generation of stronger sense of unity and oneness among the people. In a country such as India, with such diversity, it becomes all the more vital. Every educated man and woman in India should be imbued with the sense of pride and honour for our common heritage, culture and history. It is this oneness of culture and heritage that has always stood us in good stead in times of crisis and catastrophe as a nation.
Whether it was the Chinese aggression, Pakistani attacks or any other crisis, the whole nation rose like one to face it successfully. The cultural and emotional integration, effected through true and purposeful education, can very easily affect the singleness of purpose, leading to desired results. The developed and advanced countries like Japan, Canada, France, Germany, and America, etc. are so, because they have been continuously investing heavily in education for the last many years.
This clearly shows that education is an essential investment and input to realize the optimum output. The long term returns and benefits of investment in education, training and human resource development have been quite phenomenal, as is evident from the fantastic growth and development of these nations. Obviously, a purposeful education makes human resources and capital far Yore dividend paying than it would be otherwise. Good moral character, scientific temper, self-dependence, patriotism, social and environmental awareness, single-nests of purpose, secular and broad outlook, fortitude and sense of human values, like compassion, truth, peace, non-violence, and charity, are some other aspects of education.