Kd's e-pathsala Introduction to Education Concept of Education : Narrow and Wider Concept

Concept of Education : Narrow and Wider Concept

Human life is a continuous stream, from that primitive age to the present day, he has come to this place through various changes. His companion in this journey is education, which provides man with the logistics to move towards a better life. Education is the most important and powerful instrument invented by mankind to shape and mould himself in a desirable manner. Education helps people to introduce new values ​​and make a beneficial combination of old and new values. The history of the world proves that education has been the root cause for any change which takes place in the social, cultural, spiritual, political and economic aspects of human life. It is education, which not only transforms the human animal into a rational human being, but also prepares and develops him to survive and adjust with surroundings so as to lead his personal as well as social life successfully. It is through education that a person becomes entitled to a full life. Today, life is education and education is life. Hence, no distinction can be made between life and education under any circumstances.


Meaning of Education

Etymologically, the term “Siksha” has come from the Sanskrit word “Shash”. “Shash” means to discipline, to control, to order, direct, rule etc. Education in the traditional sense means controlling or disciplining the behaviour of an individual. In Sanskrit “Siksha” is a particular branch of the Sutra literature which has six branchesSiksha, 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.
Let us now turn to the meaning of the English word “Education”. The term “Education” has come from four Latin words- Educare, Educere, Educatum & Educo. meaning of all terms discuss below:
Fig: Etymological meaning of education

Definition of Education

In different eras, different philosophers and educators have analyzed the meaning of education in different ways and given their own statements, if we discuss them, the concept of education will be more clear to us. They are mentioned below-


Upanishads, “Education is that whose end-product is salvation.”

Rigveda, “Education is something which makes a man self-reliant and self-less.”

Swami Vivekananda, “Education is the Manifestation of perfection already in man.”

Mahatma Gandhi, “By education I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man-body, mind and spirit.”

Rabindranath Tagore, “The highest education is that which does not merely give us information but makes our life an harmony with all existence.”

Plato, “Education develops in the body and soul of the pupil all the beauty and all the perfection he is capable of.”

Rousseau, Education is the child’s development from within.”

Froebel, “Education is unfoldment of what is already enfolded in the germ. It is the process through which the child makes the internal external.”

John Dewey, “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 fulfil his possibilities.”


Characteristics of Education

Analyzing the definitions of various philosophers and educationist above, some of its features are observed, which are mentioned below-
1. Education is a connective process that connects different components of education. Education is also called a multidimensional process because it connects students, teachers, curriculum and the educational institutions. The following is shown by a diagram below:
Fig: Factors of education


2. Education is the process of acquiring knowledge. The learner acquires knowledge to enhance his experience, in this case education helps the learner to acquire knowledge actively.
3. Education helps in the discovery of eternal values, by which the values ​​of the learner develop.
4. Education is an interactive process, through which learner interaction abilities are developed.
5. Education preserves, develops and transmits social culture and traditions.
6. Human resources are developed through education, the proper application of which leads to the development of the nation.

Narrow and Wider Meanings of Education

In ancient times, ‘education’ meant acquiring knowledge by memorizing books and using that knowledge to pass exams and get a degree or diploma, but today this concept has changed, modern education is not just about acquiring knowledge from books, nor is it about getting a degree or diploma. The educational thinkers have interpreted and classified the meaning of education into two main categories, namely, Narrow and Wider concept of Education.

Fig: Meanings of Education


Narrow Meaning of Education

The narrow meaning of education usually implies imparting information, giving instruction, schooling, training, making people literate, teaching, preparing for a trade or vocation. In this type of education the main objective is acquiring a degree or diploma through formal knowledge by joining a particular institution. The narrow meaning of education usually implies imparting information, giving instruction, schooling, training, making people literate, teaching, preparing for a trade or vocation. In the narrow sense, education is confined to school, college and university instruction. The scope of education is very narrow here. In this type of education, the interests and needs of the students are neglected. Besides, the relationship between teacher and student relation depends on give and take policy, several theories of education in the narrow sense have been developed. E.g. gold bag theory, pipeline theory. Aqueduct theory is shown in a diagram below-

Fig: Pipeline theory

Characteristics of Narrow Concept of Education
1. The main objective of this type of education is to increase the knowledge.
2. Education in the narrow sense refers to the knowledge acquired in school, college and universities.
3. This type of education has a social recognition, degrees and diplomas are awarded to learners.
4. In this type of education, the interests, needs and abilities of the students are neglected.
5. In this type of education, the teacher-student relationship depends on give and take policy.
6. In the narrow sense of education, it is limited to acquiring skill or proficiency in a subject as per need.
7. This kind of education is only preparation for future life.


Wider Meaning of Education

Education in the wider sense is a lifelong process. This education starts from birth and continues till the end of life. The significance of education in the wider sense is the development of the child’s inherent latent potential. This type of education is not limited time training in a specific environment. Thus, in a wider sense, education is more than teaching or instruction. 

Educationist T. Raymont says that, “Education is a process of development from infancy to maturity, the process by which, he adapts himself gradually to various aspects of physical, social and spiritual environment.”

Characteristics of Wider Concept of Education

1. Education in the wider sense is a lifelong process. This type of education is parallel to the person’s life.
2. Learning in the wider sense is the reconstruction and re-creation of experience.
3. In this type of education no experience is forced upon the learner. Here the student’s interests, needs and abilities are accepted.
4. Learning in the wider sense is gained through practical experience and solving real problems.
5. Education in the wider sense involves giving up the individual’s undesirable behaviors, enabling them to perform new behaviors.
6. Both teachers and students play an active role in education in a wider sense.
7. Education in a wider sense imparts social values ​​to the child.


Difference between Narrow and Wider Sense of Education

1. Acquiring knowledge and skills are the main objectives of a narrow sense of education, but education in the wider sense is the full development of all potentialities of the children.

2. Education in the narrow sense involves the development of mental power through the acquisition of knowledge centered on textbooks. But education in the broadest sense is the harmonious development of the child’s physical, mental, social, emotional and moral life.
3. Education in the narrow sense is limited time learning, whereas education in the broad sense is a lifelong process.
4. This educational process is conducted in a systematic way, whereas education in the broad sense is not conducted in a systematic way.
5. Acquiring degrees and diplomas is the main goal, education useful for social life is the main goal.


Scope of Education

Scope of Education refers to breadth, range, extent, comprehensiveness and variety of learning experiences to be provided in the educational process. Scope means range of view, outlook field or opportunity of activity operation and application. Education has a wider meaning and application. The following subject matters may be included under the scope of Education.

1. Educational philosophy: Educational philosophy is the combination of philosophy and education. Philosophy of education covers aims of education, method of education, nature of education, curriculum, nature of discipline, environment of education, importance of education, function of education its very old and essential part of education

2. Educational psychology: Psychology has been considered as one of the most influencing factors which affected the process of education in different ways. The child faces a number of problems related to education and development. Psychology helps to understand the child better and develop the child with respect to physical, mental, emotional, social adjustment, individual difference, personality, thinking, reasoning, problem solving.

3. Educational sociology: Sociology of education may be defined briefly as a study of relation between education and society. A child lives in the society so its important for him to know about the nature of society, type of society, interdependence between culture and society. should be the aim of education, teaching method, curriculum and nature of discipline always based on the sociological structure of education.

4. History of education: It is also important to know background, origin, development, growth and aspect of the subjects. And also the education system’s method of teaching  during ancient period, medieval period, British period and modern period.

5. Economics of education: For the growth of business and market the world class economical education is important for each and important.

6. Environmental education: Ecological balances have drowned the attention of intelligence today. So looking at the environmental problems, studying environmental education has great importance.


1. Ravi, S. Samuel(2011). A Comprehensive Study of Education. PHI Learning Private Limited, Delhi (4th Edition).
2. Purkait, Dr. B.R.(1996). Principles and Practices of Education. New Central Book Agency (P) Ltd, Kolkata (6th Edition).