Professor, Engineer, Doctor, MLA, IAS officer
Education, without a doubt, has an important functional, instrumental and utilitarian dimension. This is revealed when one asks questions such as ‘what is the purpose of education?’. The answers, too often, are ‘to acquire qualifications for employment/upward mobility’, ‘wider/higher (in terms of income) opportunities’, and ‘to meet the needs for trained human power in diverse fields for national development’. But in its deepest sense education is not instrumentalist. This is to say, it is not to be justified outside of itself because it leads to the acquisition of formal skills or of certain desired psychological–social attributes. It must be respected in itself. Education is thus not a commodity to be acquired or possessed and then used, but a process of inestimable importance to individuals and society, although it can and does have enormous use value. Education then, is a process of expansion and conversion, not in the sense of converting or turning students into doctors or engineers, but the widening and turning out of the mind–the creation, sustenance and development of self-critical awareness and independence of thought. It is an inner process of moral intellectual development.