The collective or social objective of acquiring knowledge include understanding nations’ ideologies, sense of belonging, understanding and respecting constitution, to develop socializing – as we know a human is a social being, mannerism, transfer of culture/values/ethics to a new generation, developing a sense of universal brotherhood to create a positive and peaceful society.
What’s the first thing that comes to our minds when we say ‘education’? Is it the educational system, schools, universities, teaching-learning process, discipline, manners or following rules?
The word ‘education’ cannot have a simple explanation.
Before we understand what education is or what is the purpose of education, let’s take an honest look at the current state of the human world. Let’s try to understand why, even as more people are getting ‘educated’, more this earth is becoming distorted and imbalanced? Where are 600 million humans currently engaged? What is the nature of their engagement?
Every sensitive heart will cry out that in every corner of the world human society, without any distinction of religion and beliefs, color and race, region and nationality, is in the grip of some or other crisis.
What kind of good we can say has not been violated?
As the Qur’an states: The collective or social objective of acquiring knowledge include understanding nations’ ideologies, sense of belonging, understanding and respecting constitution, to develop socializing – as we know a human is a social being, mannerism, transfer of culture/values/ethics to a new generation, developing a sense of universal brotherhood to create a positive and peaceful society.
Who is responsible for these conditions? Who has caused wrath? We cannot deny the bitter truth that highly educated people have created chaos. Mostly the educated class will be found carrying the responsibility of collective life and playing the monopoly of power.
Talking about our country, India has become one of the 135 countries to make education a fundamental right of every child when the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act or Right to Education Act (RTE) came into force on 1 April 2010. The RTE was an Act of the Parliament of India enacted on 4 August 2009, which makes education a fundamental right of every child. With 25% of seats for the poor and other categories of children, education was made accessible to all.
On 20 February 2017, the Right to Education Act, 2009 was amended to include a new landmark provision: learning outcomes. These aim at improving the quality of school education and increasing accountability in the teaching system.
Since then, for many years, the RTE Act has been lauded by educationists as a progressive legislation for improving access to education in the country, and for universalizing education as a right rather than a privilege.
rather, education is the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment and preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life. The knowledge we acquire should be applied by not repeating the mistakes of the lost civilizations.
To understand what knowledge is, let’s go back to the creation of the first Human Being, Adam (May Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him). In the divinely inspired order of the Qur’an, Allah chooses to introduce us to Adam AS in a passage wherein the angels ask Allah SWT as to why He was creating a being that is going to spread corruption and spill blood.
This passage is the story of human origin. In this story of human origin, the first attribute that Allah SWT demonstrates to the angels is education.
Allah teaches Adam AS certain things and Adam AS had the ability to retain those things and also be able to explain it to others.
Basically, he acquired knowledge, he benefited himself and he benefited others too.
This shows the most important attribute of human beings is nothing but knowledge, because if you don’t have knowledge, there is no use of that creation of being.
For example, if we have a laptop, we need to have some data in it. Unless and until we have an operating system the laptop is not going to work. Similarly even human beings, if they do not acquire knowledge they are useless. If we do not acquire knowledge and benefit ourselves and benefit others with that knowledge then we are basically malfunctioning.
Imagine a world filled with malfunctioning humans; we would see zombies all around us creating an imbalanced society and destroying the meezaan (the divine order of balance and organization).
Let us now understand what knowledge is.
To achieve this objective, we as a society in general and as educationists in particular must bring a revolutionary change in the way knowledge is imparted.
- We as teachers must provide not just reasons as to why education is important but also explain what is the purpose of getting educated?
- The sources from which knowledge is transferred into the minds should not be biased or partial.
- The mentors/teachers/faculties need to update themselves and develop their skills. We saw cluelessness when the pandemic hit the world, but soon virtual classes took over the traditional way of learning.
- Visual learning must be encouraged – looking around us, pondering and learning.
As Rabindranath Tagore puts it, “Education means enabling the mind to find out that ultimate truth which emancipates us from the bondage of dust and gives us wealth not of things but of inner light (the light we can call ‘Noorun alaa Noor). It is a process of enlightenment. It is divine wealth. It helps in realization of truth.” Finally, we just cannot restrict our knowledge to the works of our Creator; rather we also need to know, understand and ponder over the words of Our Creator.
As Allama Iqbal summarizes, the purpose of an education or acquiring knowledge is:
Pour the self in education’s acid strong
When it becomes soft, mould it as you long
Knowledge or education must guide us to know our purpose in this world, rise above the angels and make the world a better place to live not just for ourselves but also for others.