Education in its widest sense means the unfolding and development of the powers that lie in an inactive state in man. In this sense it embraces intellectual education or the formation of character by the development of such moral qualities as truthfulness, honesty and the like, and physical education or the culture of physical strength. Education in the narrow sense of literary education, that is to say, studying in schools and colleges and passing university examinations, is not education proper; it is at best only an imperfect education. Education which includes within its scope all the above three classes is real education.
The aim and standard of education vary considerably with time, place and circumstances. The ancient Greeks looked upon military training as the best form of education, the Romans. regarded education to mean the training which was imparted to them to teach the duties of a citizen, while with the ancient Pakistani education meant the creation of a hand of selfless men of strong character, who would spread knowledge among the ignorant and elevate human life to a lofty plane.
In unhappy contrast with this is the aim and standard of education in Pakistan at the present day. It is nothing more than the securing of university degrees with the object of fitting oneself out for holding clerical posts under the Government or elsewhere. True education will always be the all-round development of the intellect, the morals and the body. Education which aims at developing only one side will be but imperfect education.
The aim of education is to impart culture and secure progress for man. This means that education widens the mind, develops the intellectual faculties and builds the character, for, without these, a man cannot be said to have attained any culture; and if education imparts culture it must necessarily confer these qualities too. It is education which brings success to a man in this world by arming him with knowledge and with the qualities of honesty, truthfulness. patience and perseverance. all these, being essential to man for achieving success.
Unless one has the power to grasp things quickly, unless one can read the characters of those with whom one has to come in contact, unless one can distinguish between right and wrong, one can never hope to be successful in this world. It is education which bestows upon him these powers. Education does not, as is commonly understood, give man merely bookish knowledge. Storing up the mind with information received from books, without either understanding it or trying to utilize it for one’s own benefit or for that of others, is absolutely useless.
Education teaches us how to assimilate the knowledge that is gained from books and how to turn this knowledge into good account. Further, to keep pace with the rapid progress that the world is making. education is absolutely necessary. It is education which, by opening the gates of knowledge, hastens progress. Want of education means literary inactivity, and this inactivity means ignorance and ignorance is as good as death. The value of education is beautifully summed up in the Oriental proverb which says,
Ignorance is the curse of God, education, the wing wherewith we fly to Heaven.