Purposes of Education


This article provides background information to guide schools and educators to decide on purposes and goals for education and a summary list of a meta study with 14 categories of different purposes of education.


The goal of education is to provide knowledge and skill through personal development of physical, social, intellectual, and emotional abilities.

Over the years people struggle with:

 While communities, families, and individuals answer these questions, a country or state must decide what type of education is best for the public good so they will survival and live a good life. 

Some questions, which have been considered, when deciding purposes and goals of education include:

People's answers to these questions inform how they describe what they believe is the purpose of education.

Different purposes of education are described from a review of hundreds of documents with statements of purposes of educations and are categorized into fourteen different categories.

They include:

Purposes of education

  1. Create a meaningful life - enjoyment, power, social, caring/love, survival, personal satisfaction/ fulfillment, worthy use of leisure, foster curiosity and innovation to fulfill peoples' dreams and aspirations.
  2. Good citizenship - thoughtful, humane, responsible, moral, caring, & ethical.
  3. Economic welfare - prepare for a vocation, life training, college, productive work force. To be successfully employed to earn a living and be a consumer. Engage in using and creating knowledge as producers in different fields essential and worthy of human pursuit. To maintain a healthy market economy.
  4. To be spiritual -, religious, mysticism, paranormal, supernatural, metaphysical, & existentialism.
  5. Learn the fundamentals or become literate - to be able to read, write, orate, linguistic, calculate, logical-mathematical, spatial, visual, (cover the standards) (improve tests scores) (achieve AYP) media literate.
  6. Develop physically - body and physical skill development, kinesthetic, physical education, physically healthy, art, drama, music.
  7. Become Social - the well being of each individual within society, intra personal, interpersonal, human relationships, social skills, social groups, proper social behavior, and social engineering. Agency and purpose to maintain or remake the social order to sustain life on Earth.
  8. Critical thinker and problem solving - how to inquire, how to think - not what to think, know where to find information, how to analyze it, how to create alternative solutions, how to use it, and how to communicate it.
  9. Develop into a life long learner - the will, skill, and desire to be a lifelong learner, habits of mind, dispositions to develop the love of learning, and exercise free will.
  10. Worker bees - Brain wash to be peaceful obedient drones knowing and obeying the state ideologies.
  11. To have more citizens, educators or teachers - maintain a social or educational system to prepare more educators or teachers to sustain the good life.
  12. To create a better way of living - know yourself, intra personal, self-efficacy, sense of well being, healthy life style (nutrition, medical, physical, sex, aids, drug), wealth, wisdom, naturalist, harmony with nature.
  13. Maintain a caste system - sort, select, filter, and prepare workers. Sustain the belief education provides an egalitarian meritocracy that self selects for higher education, skill-intensive occupations, menial work, or leaders positions within a fair system of equal opportunities for all to rise based on their abilities, hard work, and belief in availability of necessary resources.

Sample purpose 

Purpose is to educate all people to become democratic citizens who actively engage with each other to make moral and ethical decisions on how to sustain communities that care for each other to provide a good life.

This implies education will provide choices where learners reason, make decisions, solve problems, resolve conflicts, accept everyone into an inclusive caring community that act together to sustain an inhabitable Earth. Will require a lot of experiences to communicate to gain knowledge and litearacy.

Information on this site is useful to achieve these purposes.


Resources that explore purposes of education throughout history.



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