Two reports of UNESCO, ‘Learning to be’ and ‘Learning: Treasure Within’, have underlined the importance of complete education for the complete person. And yet, there is a debate as to whether education should not be limited to some narrower goals, considering that ours is the age of increasing super-specialization and also because education is pursued with the aim of securing jobs in the market. Job-oriented education is being often demanded and we need to confront this demand, both philosophically and practically.
Education is a sub-sector of the social framework in which the greater aims of civilization are nourished and promoted. In this context, we cannot ignore the fact that today the entire world is moving towards a global civilization, the fundamental need of which is global peace and a global order that would fulfill the highest aims of liberty, equality and fraternity. It is these higher aims that necessitate education for the complete person, for incomplete individuals are at war with themselves and they can never become the bridges of peace and advocates of freedom that aims at harmony. The aims of specialized education and job-oriented education have, therefore, to be fulfilled within the larger framework that is concerned with the highest needs of human civilization.
The key idea that would answer the question regarding ‘what we should aim in education’ is that of relationship between personality and profession or job that each individual is required to perform. The essential point is that the secret of profession lies in personality and that if education aims at shaping personality in right terms, it will necessarily involve preparing the personality for the profession which is to be a flower of the individual’s being and abilities.
Necessarily, we need to look more deeply into the nature of personality and how the development of personality includes automatically preparation for profession. In the very brief scope of this short note, it can be said that there are broadly four aspects of personality: the aspect of pursuit of knowledge, the aspect of the pursuit of courage and adventure, the aspect of the pursuit of co-operation and mutuality, and the aspect of the pursuit of skill and perfection in work. Each individual has these four aspects, but they are not equally developed and the proportions of these aspects are asymmetrical. The task of education is to take into account this basic fact and develop each individual individually, so that each individual is enabled to develop all the four aspects of personality in such a manner that within a certain period of growth, during which the individual is under the charge of the educational system, is made aware of these four aspects of personality and is given an opportunity to bring about some symmetry and harmonization. If this line of growth is promoted in the educational system, it will be found that each individual will derive from the educational system the required nourishment of different potentialities and their connections with the aspect of the pursuit of skill and perfection in work.
Indeed, this will imply a big revolution in the educational system. It will firstly require educators and teachers to understand more and more perfectly the meaning of the complete person and the different aspects that constitute the complete person. Secondly, it will imply individual-oriented or child-oriented education.
Thirdly, it will imply the development of an educational system that nourishes the atmosphere where the four pursuits of personality are encouraged; fifthly, it will imply the possibility where each individual can be aided to discover the right processes of development that would culminate in the flowering of those capacities which can at the same time stimulate the faculties of skill. Finally, it will imply education that will permit freedom for each individual to explore various alternatives and experimentation for each individual to arrive at a proper equation between the development of her personality and the skills for the profession which is inherent in the composition of his/ her personality.
The conclusion is that education for the complete person is the indispensable first premise; but the concept of complete person should be properly analyzed and the system of education should be so organized that each individual is able to find the right road and the right individual road towards her education of complete personality on a life-long basis. Within this wide framework, the educational system should ensure that each individual, at every terminal point, should get the required help and encouragement to develop his/ her personality as comprehensively as possible, provided that the interests of the development of skills for appropriate work or profession are also sub-served. Personality that does not flower in profession is barren, and the profession that does not throb with personality lacks creativity.