Nursing Education & Quality Assurance in Nursing Colleges Shyamala D Manivannan
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1Education and Nursing Education
  1. Education
  2. General Branches of Philosophy and Its Elements
  3. Idealism
  4. Naturalism
  5. Pragmatism
  6. Modern Philosophies of Education
  7. Nursing Image and Nursing Profession


A born baby does not speak any particular language. It does not know its language, religion, caste, creed and wealth for the matter anything of this world except the warmth and comfort and its hunger and pain. During second month of its life, the baby recognizes the mother tries to make cooing sound. Where does it learn this? Baby starts learning in a nonformal way. The environment takes the role to teach the baby. From the womb to tomb, the man repeatedly undergoes one or the other learning practice that enriches him to be a social being. All these are act of education. Education is not alone the content oriented paper pencil work in the formal venues like schools and colleges. During life, any self-learning practice or others to self that modify some behavior or inculcate some new behavior is education. Education enables us achieve our fullest potentials in all aspects of our life. Educated are addressed as cultured. Education helps man to climb in a ladder of social respect. Through education, he develops all round abilities and earns his lively bread. Educated are well behaved and able to disseminate the knowledge to the followers. Educated can become as the teacher, mentor and guide of their family, friends and society. Society opens the ears to educated, develops and accepts them as role models and leaders. Education can maintain, strengthen the health of the family, nation and ultimately the world. We do not deny the fact that comforting technology oriented life of today is the gift of education. Education does wonders in every individual and empowers the human brains to walk in the earth and communicate to the moon and Mars. Education is so important that it will continue even in eternity.4
Education has been described as a process of waking up to life: Ancient Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in his Thirukkural,
Men who learning gain have eyes, men say; Blockheads’ faces pairs of sores display.
The deeper a sand-well is dug the freer is its flow of water. Even so, the deeper a man's learning the greater is his wisdom.
The learned make each land their own, in every city find a home; Who, till they die, learn naught, along what weary ways they roam!”
In English the term ‘Education’ has been derived from two Latin words Educare (Educere) and Educatum. The educatum word itself is composed of two words, ‘E’ and ‘Duco’. ‘E’ means a progress from inward to outward while ‘duco’ means developing or progressing. Therefore education means developing from inside to outside. ‘Educare’ means to train or mold. It again means to bring up or to lead out or to draw out, propulsion from inward to outward. The term ‘Educatum’ denotes the act of teaching. It throws light on the principles and practice of teaching. The term Educare or Educere mainly indicates development of the latent faculties of the child. However, child does not know these possibilities. It is the educator or the teacher who can know these and take appropriate methods to develop those powers.
In Hindi, the term ‘Siksha’ has come from the Sanskrit word ‘Shash’. ‘Shash’ means to discipline, to control, to order, to direct, to rule, etc. Education in the traditional sense means controlling or disciplining the behavior of an individual. In Sanskrit ‘Shiksha’ is a particular branch of the Sutra literature, which has six branches –Shiksh, Chhanda, Byakarana, Nirukta, Jyotisha and Kalpa. The Sutra literature was designed to learn the Vedas. Siksha denotes rules of pronunciation. There is another term in Sanskrit, which throws light on the nature of education. It is ‘Vidya’ which means knowledge. The term ‘Vidya’ has originated from ‘Bid’ meaning knowledge.
Children are born illiterate and innumerate, and ignorant of the norms and cultural achievements of the community or society into which they have been thrust; but with the help of professional teachers and the dedicated amateurs in their families and immediate environs (educational resources made available through the media and nowadays the internet), within a few years they can read, write, calculate, and act in culturally-appropriate ways. Some are born in wealthy background others are not so; some learn these skills with more facility than others and so education also serves as a social-sorting mechanism and undoubtedly has enormous impact on the economic fate of the individual.
Education being an important social domain has attracted the attention of philosophers for thousands of years; especially the complex issues of education have attracted great philosophical thoughts. Dewey pointed out that the primary ineluctable facts of the birth and death of each one of the constituent members in a social group make education a necessity, for despite this biological inevitability —the life of the group goes on (Dewey, 3).5
Here are some of the definitions given by the great educators of the east and the west to have a clearer picture of the nature and meaning of the term education:
  • Education is the manifestation of perfection already in man. Like fire in a piece of flint, knowledge exists in the mind. Suggestion is the friction; which brings it out.
    Swami Vivekananda
  • By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man's body, mind and spirit.
    Mahatma Gandhi
  • The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life in harmony with all existence.
    Rabindranath Tagore
  • Education is something, which makes a man self-reliant and self-less.
  • Education is that whose end product is salvation.
  • Education according to Indian tradition is not merely a means of earning a living; nor it is only a nursery of thought or a school for citizenship. It is initiation into the life of spirit and training of human souls in the pursuit of truth and the practice of virtue.
  • Education develops in the body and soul of the pupil all the beauty and all the perfection he is capable of.
  • Education is the creation of sound mind in a sound body. It develops man's faculty specially his mind so that he may be able to enjoy the contemplation of supreme truth, goodness and beauty.
  • Education is the child's development from within.
  • Education is enfoldment of what is already enfolded in the germ. It is the process through which the child makes the internal-external.
  • Education is the harmonious and progressive development of all the innate powers and faculties of man-physical, intellectual and moral.
  • Education is the development of good moral character.
    J.F. Herbert
  • Education is not a preparation for life, rather it is the living. Education is the process of living through a continuous reconstruction of experiences. It is the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control his environment and fulfill his possibilities.
    John Dewey
  • Education is the complete development of the individuality of the child so that he can make an original contribution to human life according to the best of his capacity.
    T.P. Nunn
  • Education according to George Knight (1980) is a lifelong learning process that can take place in an infinite variety of circumstances and contexts.
  • According to Kleining (1985), education is ‘The range of activities both formal and informal whereby people are initiated into or realigned with the evolving traditions, structures, and social relations which are taken to constitute their education.’
  • Peter (1975) wrote: ‘Education consists in initiating others into activities, modes of conduct and thoughts which have standards written into them by references to which it is possible to act, think and feel with varying degrees of relevance and taste.’
  • True education means more than the pursue of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come (White, 1903, p13).6
Different educationists have defined education in various ways. It is hard to give a specific definition on education since it is very vast. Each definition differs from others except in few common aspects. Different philosophers have different perceptions and interpretations on concepts of education. Some educationists have defined only one aspect of education whereas the others emphasize its other phases. According to Idealists, the aim of life is spiritual development. As such, they regard education as a spiritual process, which aims at bringing together the soul and the creator leading to self-realization. Pragmatists think about education as a process of social progress. Actually, education is a sort of synthesis of all the above viewpoints.
As the meaning of education, its nature too is very complex. The natures of education are:
  • Education is life long process because every stage of life of an individual is important from educational point.
  • Education is a systematic process: Refers to transact its activities through a systematic institution and regulation.
  • Education is development of individual and the society: A force for social development, which brings improvement in every aspect in the society.
  • Education is modification of behavior: Human behavior modified or improved through educational process.
  • Education is a training: Human senses, mind, behavior, activities; skills are trained in a constructive and socially desirable way.
  • Education is instruction and direction: It directs and instructs an individual to fulfill his desires and needs for exaltation of his whole personality.
  • Education is life: Life without education is meaningless and like the life of a beast. Every aspect and incident needs education for its sound development.
  • Education is continuous reconstruction of our experiences: As per the definition of John Dewey education reconstructs and remodels our experiences towards socially desirable way.
  • Education is a power and treasure in human being through which he is entitled as the supreme master on the earth.
Therefore, the role of education is countless for a perfect man and society. It is necessary for every society and nation to bring holistic happiness and prosperity to its individuals.
Education is a purposeful activity. By education, we intend to bring certain desirable changes in the students. Education is a conscious effort and, as such, it has definite aims and objectives. In the light of these aims, the curriculum is determined and the academic achievements of the student are measured. Education without aim is building without a foundation. Aims give direction to activity. Absence of an aim in education makes it a blind alley. Every stage of human development had some aim of life. The aims of life determine aims of education.
Education is both unilateral as well as bi-polar in nature.
  • It is a continuous process.
  • It is knowledge or experience.7
  • It is development of particular aspects of human personality or a harmonious integrated growth.
  • It is conducive for the good of the individual or the welfare of the society.
  • It is a liberal discipline or a vocational course.
  • It is stabilizer of social order, conservator of culture, an instrument of change and social reconstruction.
Primary Aims of Education
Concerning Philosophical Principles the primary aim of education in the broadest sense is to ‘form a man’ or to help a child attain full formation or completeness as a man.
The other broader aims of education
  • To convey the heritage of culture of a given area of civilization,
  • To prepare for life in society and for good citizenship
  • To secure mental equipment required for implementing a particular function in the social whole for performing family responsibilities, and for making a living.
  • The above mentioned are corollaries and essential but secondary aims.
Parenthetically, education in the broad sense of the word continues during the entire lifetime of every one of us. The school system is only a partial and inchoative agency with respect to the task of education. Man learns through every moment of his life formally or informally. Each learning task, constantly prepares man to be a cultured person with certain moral and ethical values.
The aims of education can be classified under various headings.
The vocational aim: The vocational aim is also known as ‘the utilitarian aim or the bread and butter aim.’ Education must help the child to earn his livelihood. Education, therefore, must prepare the child for some future profession or vocation or trade. The vocational aim is a narrow aim of education. Therefore, the vocational aim is not a complete aim by itself.
The knowledge or information aim: Knowledge is indispensable for all right action and it is the source of all power. It is knowledge which makes a realist a visionary successful in any profession. Knowledge makes a person wiser in nature. Information is the wealth of the individual.
The culture aim: Man has no culture when he is born. The cultural aim of education is recommended to supplement the narrow view of knowledge aim. The cultural aim of education is no doubt a nice aim as it produces men of culture. However, the cultural aim is ambiguous and has too many meanings. It cannot serve as the major aim of education. Nevertheless, any educational curriculum emerges out of cultural commitments and constraints.
The character formation aim or the moral aim: Character is the very basic of life and, as such, it should be the aim of education. Vivekananda and Gandhiji both emphasized character building in education. Character formation or moral education is concerned with the whole conduct of man. The Secondary Education Commission (1951–52) stated that the character education has to be visualized with reference to contemporary socioeconomic and political situation.
The spiritual aim: The idealist thinkers have opined that the spiritual development of an individual should be the supreme aim of education. Spirituality gives strength, wisdom and good direction for life and the adjustments. Mahatma Gandhi has attached great importance to spiritual values in education.8
The adjustment aim: Adjustment is the basic for human life. He has to adjust to environment and other living and nonliving things of his environment. None can survive without adjustment. Life is a struggle for adjustment. In the words of Horney: Education should be man's adjustment to his nature, to his fellows and to the ultimate nature of the cosmos.
The leisure aim: Leisure equals the ‘Free and unoccupied time’ of an individual. This leisure time must be utilized in a creative way. During leisure we can pursue an activity for own sake and not for earning a living, which is dull and monotonous. During leisure, we can also regain our lost energy and enthusiasm. Leisure can make our life dynamic and charming. A person can work for his own choices in his leisure time. Person actually refreshes his mind during leisure time.
The citizenship training aim: Education should help children perform and discharge their various civic duties and responsibilities successfully. The Secondary Education Commission in India (1951–1952) has greatly emphasized citizenship training in schools. Such training includes the development of certain qualities to character such as clear thinking, clearness in speech and writing, art of community living, cooperation, toleration, and sense of patriotism and sense of world citizenship.
The complete living aim: Some educationists have insisted upon the need of an all-comprehensive aim of education. This viewpoint has led to the development of two aims—‘the complete living aim’ and the ‘harmonious development aim.’ According to Horney ‘there is no one final aim, subordinating all lesser aims to itself… There is something in all these aims but not everything in anyone of them.’
The harmonious development aim: Educationists are of the opinion that all the powers and capacities inherited by a child should be developed harmoniously and simultaneously. Gandhi is a strong advocate of the harmonious development.
The social aim: Man is a social animal. No individual can live and grow without social context. Individual life became boring to man and that is why he formed society. Individual security and welfare depend on the society. Individual improvement is conditioned by social progress. Education should make each individual socially efficient. A socially efficient individual is able to earn his livelihood amidst of all the enjoyments as a complete man in the society.
Education concentrates on various aspects of mankind. Many philosophers were attracted to contribute to education because it is a social subject with complex issues. Literature reveals that the philosophers viewed few issues in common and as well they are repeated by the followers. Some of them are character building, man making, harmonious human development, preparation for adult life, -development of citizenship, utilization of leisure, training for civic life, training for international living, achieving social and national integration, scientific and technological development, education for all, equalizing educational opportunities, strengthening democratic political order and human source development. The ultimatum is developing a good human being.