In a world where ignorance leads to suffering in innumerable ways, education is indeed the need of the hour. Defining education is a difficult task as education is often confused with literacy. The question that arises then is what is education? Is it a polished metropolitan approach to the profanities of urban life? Is it a rebellious voice raised against the socio-political atrocities committed upon us every day? Or is it, in plain and simple terms, the methodology that makes us realize the worth of things and their value in different aspects of life? But where the answer plays an elusive temptress, the questions become more and more baffling. Broadly speaking, education can be defined as an experience which makes us think, feel, decide or arrive at conclusions in a particular way. Therefore, a small incident like learning to walk to acquiring a degree in philosophy, both come under the broad umbrella of education. Education is that which teaches us facts and truths of life alike.
Now that the more difficult task of defining education has been dealt with, let’s figure out the categories that education can be divided into. Education can be a formal and an informal one. Formal education is meted out to us in educational institutions whereas informal education is a self-didactic process which we continue to perform every moment of our lives.
Which is more essential to us is debatable. Today’s urban standards of living ensure that all of us have some degree of formal education imparted to us in schools and colleges. But the problem is, degrees and certificates do not guarantee a good education. In that regard, education becomes more of a vanity than a necessity. Education should not only make us competent enough to curve a niche for ourselves in the whole wide world but it should also encourage independent thinking in us. It should be the mentor and the guide that helps us discover, learn and formulate. And as our dearest Sir Mandela points out, education should be the weapon to forge changes in a world of stagnant ideologies and redundant mediocrity. It should inspire us, encourage new thoughts and rejuvenate defunct lessons learnt from the past.
Thus, it is good education that matters in the end, not the mode of acquiring it. Good education should therefore imply anything that helps us in doing all the above and has to be a conglomeration of formal and informal education. Our education should make us individuals who can dream of a better world and execute the ideas into reality and that is only possible when we have a balance of formal and informal education.