The ancient ideal – the Greeks in ancient times and education

The ancient ideal – the Greeks in ancient times and education – the tendency today – job – oriented education – the drawbacks of specialization – education for livelihood. The ancient ideal of education was that education should be for life and not for livelihood. Knowledge was regarded as an end in itself and not a means to an end. The ancient ideal of education was a liberal one. Students were required to make a study of a variety of subjects, so that they could make a comparative study and develop their judgement and critical faculty.

Knowledge was looked upon as a valuable possession which one had to try to acquire with much trouble and difficulty. Ancient scholars thought nothing of travelling to distant, lands to drink at the fountain – head of knowledge. They would seek learned teachers and become their willing disciples. The ancient Greeks held the view that education had to help a man to have a balanced and well-integrated personality. It had to help him to achieve harmony within his own being by attaining a balance of body, mind and spirit.

It had also to help him to achieve harmony with his environment and his fellow human beings. Education for life is meant to make a man liberal, tolerant and broad – minded in his outlook. The tendency today, however, is towards providing for a Business Education or an Education for Livelihood. Today’s education is a job – oriented education. As a result of this, many Business Colleges have sprung up which are supposed to train people for particular jobs.

The knowledge imparted in these colleges is rather limited in scope. It is restricted to whatever is connected with a special profession or trade. Though specialization is supposed to lean to thoroughness and efficiency, it has its own drawback. The students who go in for a Business Education become narrow – minded. They lack tolerance and the ability to understand another’s point of view. They study everything from the view point of usefulness and not for aesthetic pleasure.

They may not be able to relax and enjoy a book for its own sake if it has no connection with their trade or profession. They may never be able to enter and enjoy the magic regions of art and literature. Education for livelihood does not encourage a student to think for himself and to develop his creative and critical faculties. As his field of study is very narrow, he does not have a chance to make a comparative study, to judge the merits and demerits of other subjects.