Plato's Theory of Education

Plato’s Theory of Education

Plato’s theory of education is connected to his theory of justice, education act as an important role to bring harmony according to Barker and unity in the society. According to Barker “An attempt to cure mental malady by mental medicine”. Plato trusts that, most of the evils in the society can be removed by providing education and he asserted that it is a spiritual medicine. Plato gave significance to education and connected to his ideal state, and gave prominence to his second book of Republic. Plato believed that knowledge is virtue and it is the duty of sate to provide knowledge. Plato asserted that the three classes in the state must be properly trained and educated so that they can do their duties with efficiency. That means state should give priority to education.

Plato always believed that education is related to individual and societal characteristics, in fact it gives individual to understand knowledge which is equivalent to virtue, it can threw a light on soul to know the truth as well. It is the social method by which society can become quick to respond about the consciousness and can learn to do their duties effectively in the society. Plato very effectively mixed these two concepts of education and justice.

Education Methods:

During the time of Plato, education system was entirely reverse trend they were Athenian and Spartan types. The system of Athenian was in primarily with private people and left with the parents to educate children by the way they think will be the best. In the Spartan system of education which was in control of the state, and parents separates their children when they attain four years and they will send them to be taken care by the perfects and state take care of their education and involvement of parents in this regard was not there. State provide education in harmony with social conditions. Plato’s education system of education designed to promote social welfare and help individuals by understanding the reality.

Features of Platonic System of Education:

The important characteristics of platonic or spiritual education are here under:

  • Plato stressed that all concerned be communicated for proper education. He believed that education is a kind of positive measure by which ruler can mould the characters of the people, he never supported the idea of keeping education with private hands and stressed the need of keeping education with state only.
  • Plato never accepted to keep the education options with parents and stressed the need to make it obligatory. He stated that education should made obligatory to all the citizens of the state, so that they can develop their mental faculties and can become respected units of state.
  • Plato did not accepted the barring of women from education on the Athenian system, both men and women must be given education
  • The education of Plato was for artisans and also for the peasants. He stated that, “Men of copper can be made into men of silver and even of gold, if they possess their attributes”.
  • Plato was in support of firm censorship of all literary and artistic works to make sure that, youth did not come under bad influences.
  • Plato insisted that education must provide moral and physical improvement of the child, he said that healthy mind can only reside in the healthy soul.
  • The important aspect of his education was to prepare the philosopher king. The philosophers after passing through a rigorous education would be able to run the government.

Education and Curriculum:

Plato’s educational curriculum consists of two stages, elementary and higher stages. The first stage starts from birth to the age of six years, during this stage both boys and girls were to be given education of languages, the children were to be given basic education on religion. The second stage from 6 to 18 years, and child should be given education on music and gymnastics. The music would give necessary development of soul and gymnastics would provide growth of body. The third stage was prolonged from 18 to 20 years, both of them must be given military education during this stage.

The stage of higher education starts from 20 to 35 years, by the end of 20 years was to be taught those who have interest in science and philosophy. The higher education again can be divided in to two sub-stages, the first ranging from 20 to 30 years, second stage from 30 to 35. In the first stage subjects like mathematics, Astronomy, Logics and other Sciences and said that geometry must be taught. During the second stage stress must be given to dialectics, and this stage of education is required for the production of philosopher king. King was to rule from 35 to 50 years after 50 years king had to retire and start study of God.

Critiques of Plato’s Scheme of Education:

His scheme of education had been criticised severely, the following charges have been levelled:

1 Plato’s scheme of education was for the guardian class other classes like peasant and artisan were not covered.

2 His scheme of education is a lifelong procedure

3 The Plato’s suggestion for censorship of art and literature is extremely critical

4 The Plato’s education system is not logical there is no relationship from one stage to the other stage. The philosopher king who administer the state does not have the necessary training in administration and other problems.

6 His pattern of education is opposing to human psychology and conflicting to rich society which depends on the variety of growth.