Aims of Education- Individual And Social Aims

Aims of education

Aims of Education- Introduction

Education, being a purposeful activity, contains some definite aims. But these aims of education differ in place and times, in accordance with sociocultural change and changes in the ideas of life. Therefore, it is very difficult to act forth one universal aim of education, suitable for all ages, all centuries and all nations.

The idea of the aims of education has been given by the different educationists in different ways-

a. According to Pestalozzi, “The main object of education is not to teach but to develop”.

b. In the words of Herbert Spencer, “The aims of education is the preparation for complete living”.

c. According to some other educationists, Education should aim at making good citizen.

Thus, the aims of education has been defined differently by different philosophers and educationists at different times and different countries.

Classification of the aims of education

Aims of education

Usually, aims of education are classified into two broad heads-

a. General Aims

b. Specific Aims

General aims are universally applicable to all time while specific aims are determined on the basis of socioeconomic conditions of the country.

Further aims of education again be classified into two categories-

a. Individual Aims

b. Social Aims

Individual aims puts stress on individual development while social aims lays stress on social development of the child.

Again, the aims of education has been divided into two categories-

a. Liberal Aims

b. Vocational Aims

Liberal aims stands for an education which fits a free man. It is concerned with the timing of intelligence, contemplative, knowledge and refreshment of tests.

Vocational aims puts emphasis on the vocational efficiency of the child.


Thus we can say that the aims of education has different categories viz.- 

i. General Aims

ii. Specific Aims

iii. individual Aims

iv. Social Aims

v. Liberal Aims

vi. Vocational Aims

In this way, we have different types of aims of education on the basis of prevailing socio-economic condition, ideological perception and needs and aspirations of the masses.

Individual Aims of Education


Individual aims in education implies the development of the individuality of the individual. According to this aim, educationists should give importance to develop the highest degree of individual excellence. In fact, every child is born with some physical and mental abilities of his own which are distinctly separate than the other. education should therefore be designed to help in the fullest development of all the innate qualities and potentialities of an individual. A fully developed individual can only bring about social change and development by making his original contribution.

The individual aims of education was advocated by Sir Thomas Percy Nunn. According to him, “Nothing good enters in the human world except in and through free activities of the individual…..and educational practice must be shaped accordingly”

In views of Adams, “Education should give importance to individual freedom. The education of a child should be spontaneous, self-guided and self-directed.” He believes that man is the architect of his own life.

Criticism of Individual Aims

The individual aims has been criticised on the following grounds-

a. It can make the people indiscipline, selfish and self- centred.

b. It ignores the socio-cultural influence as well as rich heritage of the country.

c. The individuality of a person is not of much valuable, unless it can be trained to adopt to society. Nunn himself feels that, individuality develops only in a social atmosphere.

d. It is likely to lead to social dis-integration.

e. It is not in conformity with democratic values.

Social Aims of Education


An individual is social by instinct. He is endow with social nature. he has to live in a integrate network of social relation. Education process develop social relation.

The Social Aim of education was advocated by John Dewey, an American educationist. As per him, “education should prepare a child to live as an efficient member of society. Society or State is the supreme authority of an individual. therefore, education should aim at the welfare and progress of the society or the state.”

Social aims in education however find expressions in the following concepts-

a. Education for citizenship.

b. Education for emotional integration.

c. Education for national unity.

d. Education for patriotism.

e. Education for social efficiency.

The social aim of education asserts that society or state alone is real, and the individual is only a means. An individual should be educated for the welfare and progress of the society.

Criticism of Social Aims

However, the social aims of education has been criticized on various grounds-

As there is extreme control of the state or society, the needs, desires and the interests of the individual are ignored, which suppresses his individuality and creative talents. It can be harmful in a democracy where the ruling party can try to influence the people of its own ideology.

Distinction/differences between Individual aim and Social aim

1. Individual aims implies the development of individuality.

2. In individual aim, individuals interests, needs, attitudes are given priority.

3. We can develop individual aim without social development.

4. The concept of individual aim is narrower the social aims.

5. Individual aim can posses the economic development.

1. Social aim implies the development of the society only.

2. In social aim, emphasis is given in the social integrity.

3. Social development is not possible without individual aims.

4. Social aims are broader than the social aims.

5. Social aim or social development does not means the economic development.

Relation between Individual Aims and Social Aims of education

The true aim of education is the highest development of the individual as a member of the society. In fact, individual and society are the two aspects which are equally important in education. Although there are differences between individual aims and social aims of education, yet in reality, it is not so.In fact, they are complementary to each other. they are different in extreme form only. the individual aims if stressed greatly, will produce egoist, while extreme emphasis on social aim will create suppressed personality. therefore, the extreme form of either of the two should be avoided.

Both individual and society are inter-dependent. No one can exist without the other. they are functionally related to each other. The individual acting on the society and the society reacting on the individual. the individual is the product of society, while the society finds the development in the development of each individual members. In the words of John Adam, “Individual required a society medium to grow. Without social contacts, we are not human”.

We can not study separately about the individual and society. man is a social animal. it can not survive without society and society also can not survive without individual. So the individual and the society or social aim can not be studied separately. Rather, a synthesis of these two aims of education will be the ideal combination. individuality is not a private possession, but is a means to which real good can enter the world. the good of all is the good of each.

According to Ross, “Individuality is of no well value and personality is a meaningless terms apart from the social environment in which they are developed and manifested. self-realization can be achieved only through social service and social ideas of the real values can be count only through free individuals who have developed valuable individuality. the circle can not be broken”.

The interest of the state can be promoted by the development of good qualities in due individuals and individual can make the best of themselves through the state. Man by nature is not self-sufficient, but a social being. Sir Percy Nunn believed that the individuality develops in a social atmosphere where it can fit on common life to grow in its own way because individuality is not something as the eccentricity.

Thus, it can be concluded that individual and social aims of education are not contradictory but complementary.

Liberal and Vocational Aim of Education

Vocational Education

Vocational education is concerned with the training of vocation. It is related to productivity. Vocational education prepares individuals for jobs. It has adequate employment potentialities. It helps in broadening of horizon. It leads to dignity to labour. It is helpful in the maximum utilization of the material resources of the country.

When vocational education is mixed with general education, it is called vocationalisation of education. Vocationalization of education is designed to introduce manual skills in general education. It means, training in some vacations at the Secondary, Higher Secondary level with general education.

Aims and Objectives of Vocationalization of Education

Following are the aims and objectives of vocationalization of education-

1. To develop a healthy attitude among students towards work and life.

2. To enhance individual employability.

3. To reduce the mismatch between the demand and supply of skilled man-power.

4. to provide an alternative for those intending to pursue Higher education without particular interest or purpose.

5. To prepare students for identified vocations spanning several area of activity.

6. An emphasis in vocational education will also be on development of attitudes, knowledge and skills for entrepreneurship and self-employment. 

7. To provide opportunities to fulfil the needs of women, rural and tribal students and the deprived section of the society.

8. To give opportunities for professional growth, career improvement and lateral entry into courses of general, technical and professional eductation through appropriate bridge courses. 

Common Aims of Vocationalization of Education

From the above discussion, we may conclude some of the common aims and objectives of vocationalisation of education. These are as follows-

1. To increase the productive potential of the country.

2. To raise the economic standard of the people.

3. To reduce the level of unemployment by providing self-employment schemes.

4. To utilize man-power to fullest extent.

5. To make the students skilled technician.

6. To help for equitable sharing of benefits of economic development to ensure social and economic justice.

7. To help students understand the scientific and technological aspects of contenporary civilization.

8. To make use of material and human resources.

9. To exploit the scientific and technical knowledge for betterment of the society.

10. to generate in pupils a love and appreciation for work.

Liberal Education

Liberal education is an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepare them to deal with complexity, diversity and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture and society) as well as in depth study in a specific area of interest. A liberal education helps students to develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem solving skills and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real world settings.

Objectives of Liberal Education

The objectives of liberal education include the ability to think critically, to communicate effectively, to become aware of the vast extent and variety of our accumulated experience and knowledge, and to master at least one subject well enough to appreciate its subtlety and complexity.

More specifically, the goals of a liberal education are-

1. Competency in communication.

2. Competency in using the modes of thought characteristics of the major areas of knowledge.

3. A knowledge of our basic cultural heritage.

4. A thorough understanding of at least oen subject area.

The curriculum is structured to facilitate the attainment of these goals. the purpose is not to constrain the individual student, but rather to ensure the probability that the student will have a valuable educational experience.

The aim of liberal education, however, is not to produce scientists. It seeks to develop free human beings who knew how to use their minds and are able to think for themselves, although a liberal education is indispensable for any intellectual profession. It produces citizens who can exercise their political liberty responsibly. It develops cultural persons who can use their leisure fruitfully. It is an education for all free man, whether they intend to be scientists or not.

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