Aims of education are generally based on educational values, certain bases are necessary for such values.
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These bases may be the following ones:
1. A historical analysis of some social institutions.
2. General ideals of life.
3. Scientific analysis of modern life.
4. The basis of various philosophical ideas.
Out of the above four bases the philosophical basis has been accepted as the most appropriate one. With the philosophical basis, the path for effecting improvement in the life of people may be easier.
General ideals are not of particular importance, although their acceptance, too, may be a social necessity at times. Scientific bases may indicate the paths for leading a comfortable life, but they cannot awaken us to sublime ideals of life. Therefore philosophical bases are regarded as best.
Because of the differences in philosophical ideas there might be different types of educational aims. For example, naturalism, pragmatism and idealism advocate different types of educational ideals.
Therefore there will be difference in the educational aims as propounded by them. That is why educational aims are determined in terms of educational values. The aims of education may be classified into following two broad groups:
(1) General Aims and
(2) Specific Aims.
General aims are determined on the basis of implied values. For example, if we have to strive for individual development of a child, then we should find out his interests, aptitudes and capabilities. On the basis of this knowledge an educational programme may be prepared for his all-round development.
Really speaking specific aims of education are only complementary to the general aims. So in the ultimately analysis they become essential aspects of only general aims. For example, if we want to make a child a good musician, then in his educational programmers, a number of specific aims (of education) will have to be formulated which will go to complete the general aim of making him a good musician.
The example of Herbert Spencer appears to be quite appropriate here to illustrate the above point of view. Herbert Spencer stands for ‘complete living’ as the general and final aim of education.
For obtaining the ideals of this general aim a number of following specific aims are advocated by him:
2. Skill in reading, writing and other general things.
3. worthy home-membership.
5. Duties of a citizen.
6. Intelligent use of leisure.
7. Moral character.
In short, it may be said that the general aim, in fact, is the real aim. For fulfilling the general aims, a number of specific aims are necessary. Unless these specific aims are fulfilled, it will be futile to think of obtaining the objective of the general aims. Therefore in any scheme of education both “the general” and “specific aims” are necessary.