Education is generally understood as a form of learning whereby knowledge, skills and habits are etched out in the minds of an individual through instruction, training, sharing, and communicating. In a nut-shell education is usually understood as a transfer of information and knowledge from one individual to the other. In whatever way knowledge is transferred the ultimate end of education must necessarily be formative. At the end of the day it is these formative effects that will shape and help mould an individual in the way he/she thinks, believes, views, feels, acts and reacts in the society.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), an international economic organisation founded in 1961, identifies three forms of learning: formal education, informal education and non-formal education. Formal education is institutionalized teaching and learning established according to a pre-determined and pre-defined set of curriculum. This means that courses and contents are provided to a school, a college or a university. Formal education is intentional from the learners’ perspective. Informal education is a form of education outside an institutionalised setting of education. It is neither structured nor usually certified. It could either be unschooling education or autodidactic education. Unschooling education means an educational method of learning that rejects compulsory school education as a source of education. This form of education adheres to an education derived from life experiences, domestic responsibilities, family, personal interests and curiosities and social interaction. Autodidactic education is self education or learning on your own and by yourself though it is usually complemented by formal classroom learning. Non-formal education is learning that takes place in a formal educational organisation but it is not recognised within a curriculum or syllabus framework, for example community based programmes, Scouts and Guides etc. The objective of the learner here could be to enhance one’s knowledge and passion for learning.
Whatever maybe the form of education, minimum basic education must be provided to every human being and the Indian Constitution has very eloquently framed the Right to Education as a means that will give compulsory free education to all children below the age of fourteen. Basic education acts as a radar showing and provides the right direction to people. An educational institution is not merely one that only focuses on academic subjects. Rather it is a place that has a lot more role to play. It helps in building social skills leading to healthy relationships with fellow students. This helps us in developing life-long networks. At school, children are also taught the right manners and behaviour, ethics and moral values that will help them become better human beings. This is a cricual period for character and personality development. Elementary school education is an acclaimed and accepted conventional perception and practice of education outside the purview of basic academic education. In truth education must go beyond traditional confines. Our actions in life are the impact of an acquisition of knowledge either through instructions, observations or even assimilation. Education does form the essence of our actions in life. Education is not only the subjects we get in our academic syllabus. It is much more. In reality it means many essential things in life that include ethics, morality, values, principles, etiquette, responsibility, manners, behaviour, relationship, respect and approbation. Education should be a means that will help each one of us answer queries and solve problems, help us set our goals in life, teach us how to deal with people, how to plan, how to handle pressure, how to achieve success handle failures and how to learn to accept things in life. Education is important because it helps shape our overall personality.