What is the purpose of education?

Education's foci when I was starting out was 1) to provide a means of discovering one's gifts and talents, 2) produce a knowledgeable, responsible citizenry, 3) provide economically for the next generation - not just our own children, but all children. Since those days education seems to have focused solely upon what can get a person a good job (defined as lots of money). Citizenry, communal responsibility, and personal integrity seems to have taken a far back seat to wealth and power by any means.

If my sight is foggy, I would enjoy being corrected. But if not, what do you see as the appropriate goals of a "good" education? Any examples of deep education in the mainstream? 

You need to be a member of Depth Psychology Alliance to add comments!

Join Depth Psychology Alliance

Email me when people reply –


  • Is it too late to reopen this question? Not sure if anyone is interested after almost two years, but I just joined this group, so I'll throw my hat in the ring. I'm a businesswoman, but at my core I feel that I am an educator/mentor. My field is human resources, which is to say that I am responsible in a corporation for tending the relationship between management and employees, as well as shaping the underlying culture of the organization. I determine from the chief executive what he or she most value as relates to acquiring and being responsible stewards of the "human assets" of the company and, then, I build policies and employee programs that express those values must be exhibited so that management and staff get their needs met. For example, if the CEO says that personal accountability is an important work ethic, then I build job descriptions that inform new hires of what personal accountability "looks" like in terms of tasks and responsibilities. I develop written policies that spell out the importance and range of expression of personal accountability. I develop the performance appraisal system around giving periodic feedback on the status of one's personal accountability. Then, there's a pay program that rewards personal accountability. And a fair system of warnings and sanctions for those who fail to exhibit the brand of personal accountability that is important to the owner of the company.

    I have a passion for the way that well-chosen work, in the right employee culture, can contribute to an individual's personal development and sense of wellbeing. As much time as human beings spend at work, I feel that there can be no more important tasks than designing jobs in a meaningful way, knitting those jobs together in an elegant and streamlined fashion for effective decision-making and workflow, building meaningful rewards, and, then, putting the right employees in the right roles in the particular culture where they'll thrive.

    So much of these tasks requires discussion and deep listening on my part to get it right. This is because we all think we know what we want, but we don't! CEO's don't know that personal accountability is important to them until someone doesn't exhibit it. Managers don't know what behaviors and performance actually constitute personal accountability, or that their standards may be different than those of others. And employees don't really know what will allow them to thrive in any organization, until they hate their jobs. However, by drawing on both my human resources experience and understanding of human psychology, I can often glean these details in our conversations. And as I mirror back my own clarity, all the parties are better informed about themselves and their values.

    Many people think that HR is easy (It's just dealing with people, for crying out loud!), but genuinely tending to human beings' dreams for themselves--creating and holding a container within which lots of disparate people can get their needs met--is quite complex. At its best, it requires professionals who care deeply for others (as a matter of will, not emotion) and for helping them develop into the future that is calling them. Not the traditional view of education, but I would characterize my job as an educator/mentor/coach. Other thoughts?

This reply was deleted.