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The Foundation of all civilized life is education. In modern society, we have made it a right rather than a privilege, and this must be seen as one of the greatest achievements of the past century. This does not however mean that every recipient of compulsory education is grateful. Gone are the days of angelic, smiling faces in unblemished uniform and “talk-and-incur-the-wrath-of-the-most-supreme” attitude. All this has been replaced by aggressive dressing and the mafia-style “you mess with us we mess with you” teacher-pupil relationship.
Education is influenced by the outside world. Factors such as unemployment, poor housing and lawless communities affect the pupil population. Education sways with the tide of society, so to speak. Our concern however is the purpose of education. I believe that it should instill in the mind a library of ideas, beliefs and attitudes. When we need to ponder a problem or discuss any topic, we then have a mind full of resources. As we furnish a house with chairs, beds, and modern conveniences, so we furnish the mind with ideas.
There are many examples of people who fulfilled their life’s ambitions and attained great status without education, but let it be remembered that these were exceptional people who succeeded in spite of this lack, and not because of it. Education is beneficial in our social lives. With it, we can stand on our own two feet and not take a back seat to anyone. We can argue a case reasonably but firmly, and feel confident in any situation. A good vocabulary will never go amiss on a social evening or on a formal occasion.
And the educated person will be open to the views of the others and be tolerant of opinions, which differ from his own. Education should break down the barriers created by prejudice and ignorance. It should also make a disciplined individual with the willpower to stick with any task, no matter how tedious of demanding. For the Grade twelve student it is a matter of sitting at the desk at night, taking out the books, and forgetting about the television or any other distraction. It is a silent religion. The potential doctor or lawyer must be single-minded.
It is not possible to explore the argument of a Shakespearean sonnet while listening to the music of today. It takes a lot of grit to sit and study for four hours a night, but with regular practice, it gets to be as routine as breakfast every morning or sleep at night. It also develops a strong character that will stand to you later in life. Education also helps us develop a working relationship with authority. The teacher is not a malicious brute whose sole intention is to see us out of a job and out of luck for the rest of our lives.
Good educational institutions manage to create an atmosphere of co-operation and goodwill between teachers and taught. There is little point in having a well developed brain if you cannot get on with others or have never developed a sense of humour. Education is not only for the intellect, it should produce a well balanced human being who has something to offer society. Overall, I think the purpose of education is to make every person as good and as happy as he or she can be, and to go some way towards creating an equal society.