History has never been kind to the pioneers who predicted a vision that surpassed the struggles of their present. Thriving on the grounds of sustainability that birthed innovation and creation has only been possible due to the power of curiosity and thinking. More essentially, the thirst to conquer the curiosity should be applauded, just as Pandora’s box is worshipped when the pitho Hera had offered her as a curse unleashed the modern demons of the renowned sins, simultaneously revealing hope, the only solution to overcome those evils.
While these leaders paid the price of their famished souls for the ‘greater good,' they battled the wars of stereotypes and superstitions. Such was the tussle of the history of education that progressively changed. For better or for worse, today, concerning history, can only decide.
Education, as defined by modern educators, is the process of component learning of skills, values, virtues, beliefs, and original thinking. Education was derived from the Latin word ‘e’ and ‘duco’ that eloquently means ‘to lead out of’ and ‘conduct.'
Education began with the need to change and develop, creating a futuristic scope for easier living. Instances can be found in need to apprehend survival in the times of the early men who used fire to cook, rocks to carve into weaponry and learned the sacred art of hunting.
The children of these communities were taught the basic means of survival. When farming came into sight as an alternative, society started to take the form that blossomed connectivity and communication. The roots of learning can be observed here: it was never about singularity; it was about group upliftment. Of communicative devices using rocks and walls via illustrations; it was about subsisting in the primitive times by education about togetherness in the wilderness; about kindling virtues and behavior in a community.
Evolution of education can never be pinpointed to a year, establishing a perfect date. Mythological texts and scriptures across the world have evidenced the era of educated and historically heroic individuals who were knowledgeable, like the light in the darkness of ignorance.
Hindu mythology worships the art of literature and writing and various other compilations that paved the way for learning. The yugas into which the unending time has prospered, the system of guru and Shiksha (teacher-pupil) flourished. Lord Rama learned the bala-atibala vidya (strength and insightful thoughtfulness) from Vishwamitra and Vashishta.
The Pandava and Kaurava brothers learned abled archery and Vedas from sage Kripacharya and Dronacharya, educating themselves in consumerism and kingship. The Mahabharata and Ramayana and the sacred Bhagavad Gita were fables compilations during this period.
In Greek and Roman counterparts of mythology, Minerva or Athena, after whom the city of Athens prospered, was blessed with the sacred Acropolis that became the center of education.
Heroes became popular; songs were composed, art was practiced, and hearth and virtues were worshipped. And those who adamantly challenged the gods, like Narcissus and Arachne, faced their wrath, burning away their existence and leaving the lesson of humility to be learned.
Originally credited to be the moon god, Thoth was remembered more like the lord of wisdom. He watched the three long battles between the embodiments of order and chaos, providing streaks of wise advice to those who prayed to him. He became the creator of hieroglyphs, the first ever known written language. His deification has been assumed in countless forms, but he remains to be the God of knowledge in Egyptian mythology.
Much before peace was established as a virtue, education in Sparta and other empires were dutifully accounted to power and knowledge. There was no discrimination between any grounds; every person was taught the art of defence, and excellent ones were taught offense that was a necessity. Education system began to evolve during this period when the idea of a monthly fee, curriculum, and teaching techniques rose to height.
While the Greeks focused on scientific R&D, the Roman-Spartan were trained to be warrior-like, bulk and strong with physical perfection. The alphabets developed a few centuries before this transformation in Greece were now in extensive demand, with writing equipment like feather inks and papyrus rolls. The Phoenician script was also in utility. The components of education came into force.
The earliest form of education was a luxury affordable to the royal families and offsprings and to those whose fates were determined and said to become scholars. Indifference was maintained towards those who never learned the alphabet: the global village was shrinking.
With the need to be knowledgeable came the responsibility of wise thinking. And one such example was (is) the library of Alexandria, built by Cleopatra, the Roman-Egyptian Queen. Known to be a princess well versed in many languages, Cleopatra distinguished herself as an able ruler with incomparable tons of knowledge.
The era transitioned into the formal schooling systems in churches and monasteries. The Father would deliver and preach sermons, and the men and women would pledge themselves into following them. While men were educated on the worldly ways, women had the skill to make any place a home. The language was in use with an alphabet and dialect, but things began to unfold as the universe conspired to become thinkers and dreamers.
It wasn't until centuries began to pass by when education began to grow branches of various departments and the common public pursued their interest. During the rule of empires, different prospects grew and persisted; art forms bloomed and were used for entertainment.
Universities and schools began to be founded experienced individuals imparted their knowledge for a fee. And when empires commenced to fade, and a huge diversity of forms of education opened up, the stories to narrate and teach became a popular method to spread immersive.
History began to repeat itself. It grew from zero and attained the peak, but was now returning to square one. Virtues and values disappeared. Education became a limited resource governed by the authoritative control that destructed the essence of education: curiosity and the thirst to quench it.
The Gurukul system in India instituted to become restricted. Modern mastery was demanded rather the degree that promulgated exploration and creativity. The Shantiniketan was built by Rabindranath Tagore in Calcutta to fulfill this requirement. The education system was being compressed, and that did not allow thinkers to brood and understand.
But the forbidden fruit is always wanted, isn't it? What the schools banned was picked up in the commoners' house, or under a tree, or under the blanket of stars that inspired and motivated a selective crowd that gave words to the naturally occurring and phenomenon. ‘Science' was coined, and its branches were attributed.
Philosophy, accounting and trade, and business, mathematics, and economics flourished over a span of time that moved the world. Discoveries were made; inventions were created. Sailors, scientists, leaders, governors and many more powers were delegated on a bias of knowledge.
The world shrunk dramatically. And there was no stopping it. The modern world is a heterogeneous mixture of so many principles, values, ethics, morals, and morales, humanity concepts and innovative ideologies and conceptions that are building the way to the future.
Education is now not a term with just many definitions; it is a humongous horizon. The revised urban definition has been thrived on the grounds of economic, scholastic and academic, broader terminologies of growth and development and not just in modernizing ‘knowledge,' written on a pedestal in fancy words.
What the world once aspired to be are what it is now, favoring adaptability and driving away ignorance with the light of knowledge and awareness. The erased gap between literacy and education is now growing favorably for literacy is just a compartment of learning. And the world is not the same anymore. It’s better. And it will be better as long as the originality of education is maintained.
This was the history of education, in brief, or not. But the essence remains. Education is overall growth and development, cognizance and asking, not turning away from the fear of knowing the unknown.