Introduction of Plato on Education
Plato believed that the state could promote justice and right action and prevent crime by a proper system or education. His education scheme is compulsory; state regulated and is meant for both the sexes. By this method, Plato wanted to exclude incompetent persons from holding political Offices in the state and enabling the wisest and the best to rule for the common good.
Plato Scheme of Education
Plato disliked the Athenian system of Education, which was compulsory but privately managed. He liked Spartan System of Education, which was state-regulated. His Education System is both intellectual and physical. He says that through education the eye must be turned to light. Education does not mean the storing up of external knowledge. It means the bringing of the soul into proper environment for its development.
Plato education scheme is systematic and progressive and has two phases which are Elementary and Higher.
Plato Elementary Education
Plato on education says that up to the age of six, a child is to be taught simple religious and moral truth. Then he should be taught lessons of good manners and good tastes. Plato censors education from early childhood. Nurses and parents are forbidden to tell them tales, which may teach wrong morals and create psychological twists.
Then from seven to eighteen years of age, education is both physical and intellectual. It includes basic sciences, music for general study of poetry and literature, and gymnastic to develop a sound physique.
The above training is followed by a two-year of military training, which is calculated to develop courage, self-control, character and discipline. Those who do not study after 18 years are dropped down to become artisans or producers. After military training there is a public examination and those who fail it are dropped down to become warriors.
Plato on Higher Education
From 20 to 30 years of age, students are taught natural and mathematical sciences. Emphasis is laid on mathematics, geometry, astronomy and logic. There is also training in public service. At the age of 30 there is a selective test and those who fail it are dropped down to become subordinate officers of the state.
The remaining students are given 5 years more training in mathematics, chiefly the science of dialectics. At the age of 35, they are required to undergo practical training for 15 years. At, the age of 50, they will become full guardians, devoting half of their time to state affairs and hall to speculation. They are now guardians or philosophers in the true sense.
Features of Plato Education Scheme
- It is compulsory, state-regulated and meant for both the sexes.
- It ensures mental and physical development.
- It improves morality through strict censorship.
- It is an ideal and philosophical plan.
- Element of justice occupies great position in it.
- It lays stress on a course of dialectics.
Critical Analysis of Plato Scheme on Education
Plato Education System has deeply influenced human thought and action. Modern civil and military services properly trained and sifted are in line with it. His emphasis on women education is commendable. He is right compulsory and state-regulated, but in spite of all these, there are following defects in it:
- It is primarily meant for the ruling class only and ignores the lower classes, which represents the over-whelming majority of population.
- Its censorship means that there should be no freedom of speech and expression of opinion other than what the state suggests and allows, which is unacceptable in modern times.
- In curriculum, Plato does not propose for the future legislators any study of finance, law and military tactics but only of abstract mathematics.
- It is more theoretical and less practical.
- It is too expensive to be afforded.
- It condemns the guardians to a life of military monasticism. Jowett finds two self-contradictory statements in Plato’s Education Scheme; viz the extraordinary use of music and the absolute control of the sour over the body, which is impossible.