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Characteristics of Education016:05, 30 August 2019
«no subject»001:20, 26 February 2011

Characteristics of Education



1.0 Objectives

1.1 Introduction

1.2 Nature and Meaning of Education

1.2.1 Meaning of Education

1.2.2 Definition of Education

1.2.3 Nature of Education

1.3 Scope and Functions of Education

1.3.1 Scope of Education Relation with other Disciplines Areas of Education

` Types of Education

1.3.2 Functions of Education

1.4 Characteristics of Education

1.5 Summary

1.6 Exercise

1.7 References


After studying this unit, you will be able to:

• define the term education and derive its meaning

• explain meaning and describe the nature of education

• understand the scope of education

• discuss the various functions of education

• formulate and verify the characteristics of education

1.1 INTRODUCTION Human life is the best creation of God, has got two aspects: the biological and the socio-cultural. Biological aspect is found in plant and animal life. But the socio-cultural aspect is the rare distinction of human life alone. It is only man who is capable of being educated.

Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which the knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training, or research. Education frequently takes place under the guidance of others. Any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts may be considered educational. Education is commonly divided into stages such as preschool, primary school, secondary school and then college, university or apprenticeship. Hence, through education, he tries to seek new ideas and new ways of life. It is again through education that he promotes his intelligence and adds his knowledge with which he can move the world for good or for evil, according to his wishes. Thus, he attempts to understand himself in relation to the world about him and to transmit that knowledge succeeding generations.


1.2.1 Meaning of Education

The word "education" is traced to different sources of derivation. According to the one view the word education is derived from Latin word "educo" means 'I lead out' here E means 'out of' while 'duco' means 'I lead' in other words it means 'I lead out of darkness into light' and here 'I' denotes the teacher. The hindi word Vidya or vidyā (Sanskrit: विद्या) primarily means science, learning, philosophy, knowledge, and scholarship, any knowledge whether true or false. Its root is vid (Sanskrit: विद्), which means "to reason upon", knower, finding, knowing, acquiring or understanding.

There is another view that the word 'education' is derived from the word 'educare', meaning 'to rear' 'to bring up' 'to nourish'. This meaning implies that the child is lacking and she is to be brought up with certain preconceived ideas. for which, she is to be fed with knowledge in proper way so that, child or student can utilize his innate power to achieve his ends in other words, it means that the child is to be brought up according to certain aims and ends in view. The modern educationalists, the child is not to accept imposition, but has to observe, think and draw conclusions for him. Therefore, education means 'to lead out', 'to lead forth', or 'to unfold the hidden talents of man'. It is very much the art of developing and cultivation the various powers of mind, physical, mental and moral. However, it should be noted clearly that nothing can be drawn, unless something is put before hand, means the growth of the child will not take automatically, it needs certain knowledge and experience, so we have to give him knowledge and experience before we expect to draw out the best in the child.

Hence, education can be looked upon a process of providing desirable knowledge and experience to the child so as to develop his inner powers to the maximum possible extent. In other words, 'education' means both the acquisition of knowledge and experience as well as the development of skills, habits, and an attitude which helps a person to lead a full and worthwhile life in this universe. It is in fact, a process of training the individual through various experiences of life, so as to draw out the best in him.

According to Mahatma Gandhi, "By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man- Body, mind and spirit. It is one of the means whereby man and women can be educated. Literacy in itself is no education."

All-round means, Man is neither mere intellect nor the gross animal body, nor the gross animal body, nor the heart or soul alone. A proper and harmonious combination of all these is required for the making of the whole man.

The modern tendency is to regard education as a bipolar (two-way) process involving interplay of educator (teacher) and educand (student) during which the educator’s personality acts on the educand to modify his/her development. The educator consciously and deliberately tries to develop the educand along definite lines by modifying his/her behaviour. According to Dewey, education is the process of living through the continuous reconstruction of experiences. It is the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities. Dewey also states that education is a psychological and sociological process. Psychological aspect involves the study of the child’s urges and powers. It furnishes the material and gives the starting point for education. Sociological aspect emphasises participation of the individual in the social consciousness of the race. This socialisation begins at birth and continuously shapes and affects the individual’s personality and thinking. So, we can rightly say that the role of the educator is to shape and modify the personality of the educand according to the needs and demand of the society.

Education is the process of development of an individual from infancy to maturity and so we can rightly say that life is education and education is life. In the narrower sense, education includes inly those deliberately planned and chosen influences which effect changes to bring about better adjustment of human nature with surroundings. Education should make an individual self-reliant and selfless. Education is higher and finer than mere instructions. Instruction includes communication knowledge or acquisition of useful skill. Instruction is an essential educational instrument.


Formally, education can be defined as (in Oxford dictionary):

• The action or process of educating or of being educated a stage of such a process.

• The knowledge and development resulting from the process of being educated a person of little education.

• The field of study that deals mainly with methods of teaching and learning in schools.

Definition of Education by Indian philosophers and ancient Indian scripts:

• Education is something, which makes a man self-reliant and self-less. - Rigveda

• Education is that whose end product is salvation. – Upanishada

• Education means development of self-contentment. -Kannada

• Education is the process of the individual mind getting to its full possible development… it is a long school, which lasts a life time. -Zakir Hussain

• Education is the manifestation of divine perfection already existing in man. -Vivekananda


According to John Dewey, Education is the process of living through continuous reconstruction of experiences. Based on this ideology, nature of education is as follows:

• Education is life-long process- Education is life long process because every stage of life of an individual is important from educational point of view.

• Education is a systematic process- It refers to transact its activities through a systematic institution and regulation.

• Education is development of individual and the society- It is called a force for social development, which brings improvement in every aspect in the society. Education should be relevant to life situations.

• Education is modification of behaviour- Human behaviour is modified and improved through educational process. It brings about integrated development of individuals.

• Education is a training- Human senses, mind, behaviour, activities; skills are trained in a constructive and socially desirable way.

• Education is instruction and direction- It directs and instructs an individual to fulfil his desires and needs for exaltation of his whole personality.

• Education is life- Life without education is meaningless and like the life of a beast. Every aspect and incident needs education for its sound development.

• Education is continuous reconstruction of our experiences- As per the definition of John Dewey education reconstructs and remodels our experiences towards socially desirable way.

• Education is a power and treasure in human being through which he is entitled as the supreme master on the earth.

• Education is a tripolar process- It includes interrelation between the Educator (teacher), the Educand (student) and the Society.

Therefore, the role of education is countless for a perfect society and man. It is necessary for every society and nation to bring holistic happiness and prosperity to its individuals.


1) The three poles of the education system are Teacher- Pupil- Society. Justify their position.

2) Formally define the term Education and state its meaning in the Indian context.



Scope means range of view, outlook, field or opportunity of activity operation and application. Education has a wider meaning and application.

The facets of the scope of education are as follows:

• Relation with other disciplines

• Areas of Education

• Types of Education Relation with Other Disciplines

1. Education and Philosophy: Philosophy of education covers aims of education, nature of education, importance of education, function of education. It’s very old and essential part of education.

2. Education and Psychology: Main aim of education is the development of child. Psychology helps to understand the child better and development of child with respect of physical, mental, emotional, social adjustment, individual difference, personality, thinking, reasoning, problem solving.

3. Education and Sociology: A child lives in the society so it is important for him to know about the society, the nature of society, type of society, interdependence between culture and society.

4. Education and History: It is also important to know background, origin, development, growth and aspect of the subjects. And also, education system method of teaching during ancient period, medieval period, British period and modern period.

5. Education and Economics: For the growth of business and market the world class economical education is important for each and important.

6. Education and Political Science: Political systems have influenced the theory and practices of education from the very beginning. The influence of politics has been instrumental in educating people to fight against exploitation, injustice and to protect their Human Rights as an individual, citizen and a consumer.

7. Education and Population Studies: Viewing at the undesirable growth of population, an awareness is created through population education.

8. Education and Environmental Studies: Ecological balances have drawn the attentions of intelligence today. So, looking at the environmental problems study of environment education has great importance. Areas of Education

Till now we have seen the relation of education with various disciplines and have enriches the concept of education and understood the role of education in each field of study. The following are the areas of study under education.

1. Educational Philosophy: Philosophy is an integral part of our life. Philosophy provides the fundamental principles and education implements these principles in the area of Educational Philosophy.

2. Educational Sociology: School is a miniature society. The teacher is a social engineer who attempts to bring about the social change through her students and their parents with whom the teacher has a constant interaction. Through Educational Sociology, one can understand how the public institutions and individual experiences affect education and its outcomes. It is mostly concerned with the public schooling systems of modern industrial societies, including the expansion of higher, further, adult, and continuing education.

3. Educational Psychology: Educational psychology is the branch of psychology concerned with the scientific study of human learning.

4. Method of Teaching: In ancient time the pupil were passive listeners but now they actively participate with the teacher in the process of education. So the skill and proficiency of different teaching methods needs to be developed.

5. History of Education: It records the stages in the development of education in relation to different aspects and the role of revolutionary teachers and philosophers who have contributed in shaping the education system of the entire world.

6. Comparative Education: It is the comparison of education systems and educational policies of different countries with a view to facilitating the educational comparison of the structure, operation, aims, methods, practices of different countries.

7. Educational Management: Educational management refers to the administration of the education system in which a group combines human and material resources to supervise, plan, strategize, and implement structures to execute an education system.

8. Educational Technology: Educational technology is the use of both physical hardware, software, and educational theoretic to facilitate learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. Types of Education

Educational thinkers, scholars and philosophers have divided education into different into different types and categories. Among those the most popular division is types based on institution. According to this division education can be of following types:

  1. Formal Education

Formal education is the type of education which is provided in certain institutions like school, college, universities etc. Formal education is designed with fixed aims and objective and provided according to the curriculum. It has fixed time table, examination system and discipline. It is provided in accordance with the rules and regulations of the concerned school and college. The characteristics are as follows:

• It is pre-determined and pre planned.

• It is time bound and regulated by routine.

• It is space bound i.e., institutional.

• It is age bound.

• It follows systematic curriculum.

• It is imparted by qualified teachers.

• It observes strict discipline.

• It is methodical in nature.

     2. Informal Education

Informal education or incidental education is one which occurs automatically in the process of living. It is received by one by living with others, such as cycling, horse riding, fishing etc. Family is one of the most important agencies of informal education as we learn many things from its members. The main characteristic of informal education are as follows:

• It is incidental and spontaneous.

• It is not pre planned and deliberate.

• It is not confined to any institution.

• There is no prescribed syllabus and time table.

• It is not time bound and age bound.

• There are many agencies of informal education.

• It is also known as out of school education.

     3. Non-formal Education

Non-formal education is any organized systematic educational activity carried outside the framework of the established formal system. Non-formal education is provided at the convenient place, time and level of understanding or mental growth of children and adult. The main characteristics are:

• Non-formal education is open ended and non-competitive

• Non-formal education is structured and planned but outside the sphere of formal education

• It is consciously and deliberately organized and implemented

• It is programmed to serve the need of the homogeneous groups

• It possesses flexibility in design of the curriculum and process and evaluation

• In non-formal education teacher pupil relationship is much more intimate

• Attendance in non-formal education is voluntary

• In non-formal education many students are working persons


The following are the functions of Education:

1) To complete the socialization process:

One of the main social objective of education is to complete the socialization process. With the emergence of nuclear families, the role of school and other institutions in the socialization process has increased considerably. The school trains the child to develop honesty, consideration for others and ability to distinguish between right and wrong. Socialization process also enables the child to co-operate with others and to grow as a good citizen by respecting the laws framed by the society. Socialization is achieved through textbooks and learning experiences intended to develop social skills.

2) To transmit the cultural heritage:

All societies are proud to uphold or highlight their cultural heritage and ascertain that the culture is preserved and transmitted through social organization to future generation. All types of education and all agencies of education have to carry out the function of cultural transmission in an earnest way by teaching the elements of culture like literature, history, art, philosophy, etc.

3) Formation of social personality:

Personality of individual members in a society shares some common features of the culture. Along with the process of transmitting culture, education also contributes to the formation of social personality. Formation of social personality helps man to adjust with his environment and flourish himself in co-operation with others.

4) Reformation of attitude:

In the developmental process, child may have incorporated some undesirable attitudes, beliefs and disbelief, localities, prejudices, jealousy, hatred, etc. It is the duty of the education to reform the undesirable attitudes and other negative aspects by means of removing the wrong beliefs, illogical prejudices and unreasoned localities from the child's mind. A collective effort by the school and home will bring out spectacular results in the matter of reforming attitudes.

5) Education for occupational placement-an instrument of livelihood:

Now a day, this is regarded as the first and foremost function of education by a large section of people. This function is related to the practical aim of education and receiving more attention due to the diversified needs of the society. Education should prepare students not only to foresee the future occupational position but also enable them to attain it in an impressive way. The relevance of this function is evident from the importance we are giving to vocational training.

6) Conferring of status:

It is understood that an individual's status in the society is determined by the amount and type or kind of education he has received. In the current situation, the kind of knowledge one is gaining is important than the amount. For example, a graduate nurse or a diploma nurse can flourish anywhere in the world compared to a person holding Ph.D. in a traditional subject.

7) Education encourages the spirit of competition:

Healthy competition is essential for the growth of a democratic society. Healthy competition can be manifested in the form of quality products and services. From the school level itself students should realize the need for engaging in healthy competition in order to lead a better life. Unfortunately, our present education system is fostering unhealthy competition.

8) Education trains in skills that are required by the economy:

Economy and education always enjoy a bilateral relationship for example. The number of well-functioning hospitals is directly related to the number of qualified and competent nurses passing out from the nursing institutes. More patients will be admitted to a hospital which is providing quality nursing care. This will lead to more money transactions and ultimately results in the economic development of the nearby areas of the hospital.

9) Foster participant democracy:

In participant democracy, ordinary citizen is aware about his rights and duties and participates actively in the democratic process. Literacy is essential to nurture participant democracy and literature is the product of education. Thus, education fosters participant democracy.

10) Education imparts values:

Education help the students to realize the role of values in leading a good life as a social being. Through various activities education imparts values such as co-operation, team spirit, obedience, etc.

11) Education acts as an integrative force:

Education acts as an integrative force in society by communicating values that unite different sections of society. By and large students learn social skills from the educational institutions. In India, through education we are teaching the concept of 'unity in diversity' as a part of developing this integrative force.

12) Values and orientation which are specific to certain professions are also provided by education:

This function deals mainly with the professional education. For example, in nursing institutes, nursing students are educated in a particular way to meet the health needs of the society.


1) Differentiate between the three types of Education.

2) Explain the relation of Education with other disciplines.

3) How does Education encourage spirit of competition?


Education is a process of continuous reconstruction of experience. Education exhibits a wide characteristic among which the most important are: 1. Education is a social process: Education occurs only in social environment and without it no one can acquire experiences. As we know experience is the most important ingredient of education and it can only be perceived in social environment, so it is a social process.

2. Interrelationship of life and education: The different situations and strange incidents that occurs in our life and education, both of them influences our life to a great extent. Therefore, we can call life is as education and education is as life.

3. Education is development: Education is directly or indirectly in the all-round development of child. The aim of education is the development of child to its fullest extent. So, education is development and development itself life.

4. Education is the root cause of creativity: Education gives new experiences to individuals and helps them to create new things.

5. Education is the reconstruction of experience: Man acquire different experiences in different situations. In due course of time some of these were excluded and some were converted and new experiences fills the empty spaces. In human life this conversion and reconstruction of experiences is termed as education.

6. Education plays significant role in social conservation: Every society has its own rites and rituals, ethics, morality, language, culture, beliefs, etc. Education helps the society to conserve them.

7. Education is an Art: Education is an art. It develops the inherent qualities of child in beautiful way like Arts. Teaching is also an Art. Therefore, the teacher helps the students good and healthy personality under his guidance.

8. Education is a socializing process: Every society has its own moral values. With the help of education people can develop these moral values. Therefore, it is termed as socializing process.

9. Education brings about desirable change in human behaviour: Education brings change of human behaviour in a desired way. Good and ethical behaviour makes us a good person and helps in our development.

10. Education is the power to make adjustment in new situations: Education gives us strength to solve the difficult problems that we have faced in our life.


1) Write the characteristics of Education.

2) Justify, ‘Education is an Art’.


From the above definitions, it is now clear that since the ancient times to the modern times of John Dewey, Swami Vivekananda and Mahatma Gandhi, various educationists have defined education in various ways. The field of education is so vast and varied that to give a specific definition of education about which all educationists agree is very difficult. We see that some educationists have defined only one aspect of education whereas the others emphasize its other phases. The reason of this difference of opinions is that different educationists, most of whom are philosophers, have different views about the aim of life.

The different meanings and definitions of education as given above lead us to the conclusion that education should have a comprehensive definition. Thus, education may be defined as a purposive, conscious or unconscious, psychological, sociological, scientific and philosophical process, which brings about the development of the individual to the fullest extent and also the maximum development of society in such a way that both enjoy maximum happiness and prosperity. In short, education is the development of individual according to his/her needs and demands of society, of which he/she is an integral part.


1. Discuss and differentiate between the three forms of education.

2. Elaborate on the different areas of Education with appropriate examples.

3. Discuss and define the scope of education with relevant examples.

4. What is the meaning of education? Define Education using the bases of Indian Philosophers.

5. “Education is the manifestation of divine perfection already existing in man.” was said by:

a. Swami Vivekananda b. John Dewey c. Mahatma Gandhi d. Zakir Hussain

6. Which of the following is not a part of tripolar process of Education:

a. Education b. Educand c. Educator d. Society

7. Which of the following is not a type of process to impart education:

a. Formal b. Informal c. Casual d. Non-Formal

8. Which of the following statements is not true for education:

a. Education is an Art b. Education is not a socializing process c. Education is development d. Education is a cause of creativity


Main References:

[1]. Safaya, R N and B. D. Shaida (1998). Development of Educational Theory and Practice. Delhi: Dhanpat Rai and Sons.

[2]. Aggarwal J C (2010). Theory and Principles of Education (13th Edition). New Delhi: Vikas Publishing house.

[3]. Bhatia, K K and C.L.Narang (1998). Principles of Education. Ludhiana: Prakash Brothers Publishers.

[4]. Taneja,V R (1997). Educational Thought and Practice. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers.

Internet References:

[1]. Meaning, Aims and Process of Education. cited 2019 June 5; Available from:

[2]. Concept and Meaning of Education. [cited 2019 June 15, Available from:

Pmanghirmalani (talk)16:05, 30 August 2019

«no subject»

congrats for joining wiki community. put some work on your user page

Rtoteja27 (talk)01:20, 26 February 2011