Definitions of Education

Definitions of Education
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The term ‘Education’ is very difficult to define and to give one definite meaning to it. Every one of us know very vaguely what education is. But we may not be able to explain it in definite terms. Anyone if asked to define ‘Education’ will end up giving a definition according to his or her own outlook of life and according to the circumstances he or she have been facing. This is natural as the concept of education is never static. It is a continuously evolving concept. It has passed several ages and stages in the process of evolution and had different meanings in different stages. In this article we will quote some definitions of education in the context of both Eastern and Western Concepts.

Definitions of Education

Origin of the term ‘Education’

There are different views regarding the origin of the term ‘Education’. According to one view, Education originated from the Latin word ‘educare’ which means “to bring up” or “to nourish”. According to another view , the term originated from the Latin word ‘educere‘ which means ‘to lead out’ or ‘to draw out’. There is another derivation from the Latin word ‘educatum’ which means ‘the act of teaching or training’.

So, from the two Latin words ‘educare’ and ‘educere‘ we find that education is something external which is imposed from outside by some factors. However the third term ‘educatum’ implies that education is a growth from within. Thus we may sum up that Education is both acquisition of knowledge and experience as well as acquiring skills, developing habits and attitudes throughout ones life.

Definitions of Education – Indian Concepts


Bhagavdgita: “Nothing is more purifying on earth than knowledge.”

Rig Veda: “Education is something which makes man self-reliant and self-less.”

Upanishad: “Education is that whose end-product is salvation”

Aurobindo Ghosh: “Education is helping the growing soul to draw out that is in itself.”

A. S. Altekar : “Education has always been regarded in India as a source of illumination and power which transforms and ennobles our nature by the progressive and harmonious development of our physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual powers and faculties.”

Gopabandhu: “By education, I do not mean the teaching in school, education is what was imparted in the ancient Indian institutions and the centres of religion throughout the province.”

Guru Nanak: “Education is self-realization and service of the people.”

Kannada : “Education means development of self-contentment”

Kautilya: “Education means training for the country and love for the nation.”

Mahatma Gandhi: “By education, I mean an all-round drawing out of the
best in the child and man- body, mind and spirit.”


“Human education means the training one gets from nature.”

Shankaracharya: “Education is the realization of self.”

Sri Aurobindo: By education, Sri Aurobindo means that “which will offer the tools whereby one can live for the divine, for the country, for
oneself and for others and this must be the ideal in every school which call
itself national.”

Swami Dayananda: “Blessed are the men and women whose minds are centred on the acquisition of knowledge, who possess sweet and amiable
tempers, who cultivate truthfulness and other similar virtues, who are engaged in altheuistic work as prescribed by the Vedas.”

Tagore: “The widest road leading to the solution of all our problems is education.”

Tagore: “Education means enabling the mind to find out that ultimate truth which emancipates us from the bondage of the dust and gives us the wealth, not of things but of inner light, not of power bur of love, making this truth its own and giving expression to it.”

Vivekananda: “Education means the manifestation of the divine perfection, already existing in man.”

Yajnavalkya : “Education is that which makes a man of good character and useful to the society.

Zakir Hussain: “Education is the process of the individual mind getting to its full possible development… …… It is a long school which lasts a life time.”

University Education Commission: Education, according to Indian tradition, is not merely a means to earning a living, nor it is only a nursery of thought or a school for citizenship. It is initiation into the life of spirit, a training of human souls in pursuit of truth and the practice of virtue. It is a second birth ‘dvityam janma

Indian Education Commission (1964-66) states that education ought
to be related to the life, needs and aspirations of the people so as to be a
powerful instrument of social, economic and cultural transformation.

Definitions of Education – Western Concepts


Adams: “Education is a conscious and deliberate process in which one’s personality acts upon another in order to modify the development of
that other by the communication and manipulation of knowledge.”

Aristotle : “Education is the creation of a sound mind in a sound body. It develops man’s faculty, especially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty of which perfect
happiness essentially consists.

Comenius : “All those who are born as human beings need education
because they are destined to be real man, not wild beats, dull animals and
clumps of wood.”

Friedrich William Froebel : “Education is enfolded of what is already enfolded in the germ. It is the process through which the child makes
internal external.”

Heinrich Pestalozzi : “Education is natural harmonious and progressive development of man’s innate powers.”

Herbart Spencer : “ Education is complete living.”

John Dewey : “Education is the process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experiences. It is the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control his environment and fulfil his possibilities.”

Milton : “I call, therefore, complete and general education that which fits a man to perform just by; skillfully and magnanimously all the offices, both private and public of peace and war.”

Plato : “Education is the capacity to feel pleasure and pain at the right moment. It develops in the body and in the soul of the pupil all the beauty and all the perfection which he is capable of.”


“Education is the deliberate and systematic influence, exerted by the mature person upon the immature through instruction, discipline and
harmonious development of physical, intellectual, aesthetic, social and
spiritual powers of the human beag, according to individual and social
needs and directed towards the union of the educant with his Creator as the
final end.”

Ross: “The aim of the education is the development of valuable
personality and spiritual individuality.”

Rousseau : “Education of man commences at his birth before he can speak, before he can understand he is already instructed. Experience is the fore-runner of precept.”

Socrates : “Education means the bringing out of the ideas of universal validity which are latent in the mind of everyman.”

Thomson : “By education I mean the influence of the environment upon the individual to produce a permanent change in his habits of behaviour of thought and of attitude.”

T. Raymont: “Education is a process of development from infancy to
maturity, the process by which he adopts himself gradually in various ways
of his physical, social and spiritual environment.”

T.P. Nunn: “Education is the complete development of the individuality of the child so that he can make an original contribution to human life according to the best of his capacity.”

Ulich Robert : “It (Education) is the constant instruction among
people and between people and the objective world.”

Thus from all the above definitions it is seen that the term “education” has been defined and interpreted differently from ages to ages and from person to person based on differences in social conditions, physical environments and lives of the persons who expresses those views.

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