Importance of Formal Education in our Society

02 Jun 2022

importance of formal education in our society

Billionaires such as Ritesh Agarwal (Founder & CEO, OYO rooms), Bill Gates (Co-founder, Microsoft) and Gautam Adani (Founder Chairman, Adani Group) are just a few examples of people who have achieved success without having a college degree. But education played a role in laying the foundation for their success. The basic knowledge and experiences gained are what allowed the wider picture to emerge in their later life.

Although they are excellent role models despite being college dropouts, we must remember that they represent only a handful of success stories as opposed to the ‘nobody’ status of the majority of college dropouts in reality. Let us also not forget that aspirations vary from person to person. Some dream of becoming an IAS or a doctor, whereas others might prefer a career in law, engineering etc. There are a variety of sought-after occupations that demand the fulfilment of prerequisite eligibilities, and formal education helps in this regard because it is legal, statutory, and recognized by the public, government, and society as a whole.

With the evolution of mankind in society, the scope of education has also broadened. Today, the nature of education can be segregated into two broad categories – formal education & informal education.

In the premises of formal education, a child is imparted academic knowledge and training by specialised teachers, starting from school and all the way up to college/university level. This type of education has universal applicability, which facilitates youths to learn within the scope of a planned, deliberate and systematic medium, as per their course of studies. The level of knowledge proficiency under formal education is assessed based on well-planned organised methods of assessment and evaluation.

However, education can be acquired outside of standardised schooling norms, which fall under the scope of the informal education system. There is a lot to be learned outside the scope of formal studies, which can allow people to acquire an in-depth understanding of topics and lessons that are otherwise not taught in schools. However, the existence of invaluable lessons that can be gained from informal education does not negate the purpose and importance of formal education. Formal education is still relevant and necessary for the holistic development of an individual.

Importance of Formal Education

–        Formal education is an attempt at the all-around development of a person, that can help them become responsible, passionate and productive citizens contributing to the advancement of our society.

–        Early introduction to formal education has the ability to enhance the behavioural traits of a child in a way that is desirable in our society. This implies the indispensable impact of formal schooling on a child’s upbringing. This is perhaps the reason why we see visible differences in the behavioural and knowledge-aspects of two children brought up under two different circumstances – one with formal schooling, and one without.

–        Formal education has the ability to change the course of a person from alienation, poverty and destitution, and bring them on a path to security, social belongingness and prosperity. It moulds the physical, intellectual, emotional and social characteristics of a person in a balanced manner.

–        Furthermore, formal education trains children to develop critical thinking and reasoning power, shaping them into good citizens, and improving their social standing and independence.

Every child is born different. They have curiosity, urges and impulses of several kinds which constantly seek outlets. Formal education provides a sense of direction for them through carefully established channels, enabling them to reach their desired goals. It is the primary task of educational institutions to tap into the latent abilities, potentials, interests, behaviour and needs of the children and bring them forward in the best possible platform.

It is important to mention that educational institutions play a critical role in defining the career paths of the future working force of a nation. Teachers have the ability to guide students towards specialised fields after understanding the abilities and interests of individual students. The premise of formal education offers an excellent platform to foster such personalised guidance for students.

To be successful in all aspects of later years, a person needs to acquire some knowledge, skills, attitude and interests. Apart from assisting the child in laying a strong foundation for further and broader scope of education, formal education provides opportunities for social learning, group learning, group works, games and sports, dramatics, debates, discussions, cultural programmes, modes and various forms of democracy. They learn cooperation, understanding, friendship, tolerance, cordial manners and all such qualities essential for a successful living in society. So, the function of schooling is not limited to only individual development, but it also helps shape social development.

Educational institutions also facilitate the new generation to get acquainted with the history, literature, customs, traditions, beliefs, ancient myths and legends of the society and the world. It enables us to protect and preserve society’s events and achievements in the past and pass along the knowledge to the younger generation. Through schooling, it prepares children for the future by inheriting, enriching, preserving and transmitting culture and values.

The rules, principles and regulations that govern the functioning of institutions also impart valuable lessons on discipline, time management, punctuality, responsibility, morality, social values and more. With the accommodation of extra-curricular and co-curricular activities, the educational institutions promote national unity and integrity. The teachers through their practical efficiency, skills, and competency mould the behaviour of students into a desirable form by imparting socially desirable knowledge, skills and providing socially desirable experiences.

However, the knowledge & skill-based proficiency of two educated people can vary depending on their financial situation and the environment in which they learn. In comparison to public school students who mostly get to learn in a generic learning environment, students of private schools may receive better privileges & refined learning experiences, leading to global exposure early on. Nonetheless, the formal schooling structure is designed in such a manner that every child receives equal opportunities to receive higher education at premier institutions of national and international repute, such as the IITs, NITs, Harvard, Oxford, MIT, etc. Merit-based scholarships are made available to enable bright students with financial constraints to pursue higher education of their choice without being burdened with the cost involved.

India has come a long way since its struggle for freedom and made great strides in its development. Today, the lag in research & technology that once existed is being rapidly bridged with continuous development and investments to improve and widen the spectrum of education in India. The introduction of NEP 2020 by the Govt. of India is an excellent example of supporting this. Further, additional measures are being taken actively to bring reforms in the educational scenario and better serve the students of our nation. The best of talents and the majority of the self-reliant citizens of our nation have got their education to thank for the exposure they have received in their respective lives. We have a rich history of producing talented scientists, CEOs, business people and more who have had a positive impact on societies around the world.

Adding on, education has had a significant impact on social reformations and progress in India. It has allowed women in the country to be more independent. It has had a positive impact on poverty alleviation by helping people become more self-sufficient and self-reliant. It has also facilitated the eradication of social evils and superstitions through awareness buildup in society. In a nutshell, the role of formal education isn’t just to provide a means to livelihood for an individual but to rebuild our society and bring sustainable solutions to light, for the collective benefit of all.

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