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Educational Philosophy of Plato b.ed notes | Educational thoughts of Plato


Educational Philosophy of Plato

Plato was a great Greek philosopher. He was born in 427 BC in an aristocratic family of Athens. He was a disciple of Socrates and was deeply inspired by his thoughts. Plato in 386 B.C.

With the help of his disciples, he opened the Academy in Athens, which has the distinction of being the first university in Europe . He spent maximum time of his life in study-teaching work.

Due to this academy of Plato, Athens became the intellectual center not only of Greece but of the whole of Europe.

It was written at the entrance of his academy -" No one has the right to enter here without knowledge of mathematics." Here politics, law giver and philosopher were also taught to become rulers. 

The great philosopher and educationist Plato died at the age of 81. 

Plato's ideas related to education are derived from the works ' Republic' and ' The Laws'. 

Plato wanted to make a person an ideal citizen through education. Plato's academy had a system of teaching subjects like psychology, philosophy, music, mathematics and political science.


Educational thoughts of Plato 

Meaning of Education According to Plato

Explaining the meaning of education, Plato has written that- "I am telling youths and those older than that about the productive education of virtues, which enthusiastically engages them in the attainment of the full ideal of citizenship and which equips them properly. It teaches to rule and obey. This education is such an education whose name is meaningful education. 

The second type of education, which aims at the acquisition of wealth or physical strength on cleverness without justice and intelligence, is intermediate and does not qualify to be called education. Those who are thus educated are generally good men.

According to Plato, education is an attempt to destroy the social from the roots and there is a plan to reform the erroneous life-system by which the whole outlook of life can be changed.

According to Plato, "Education is the intellectual remedy for an intellectual evil."

Education is a social process which makes Individuals aware of their duties towards the society. Education as far as it is social, it is the means of social justice. It is the means of positioning the individual in the society.


Features of Plato's theory of education

1. According to Plato, the soul is the source of all education.

2. The whole life of man is the field of education.

3. The state is the product of the soul and the state is an important element in the development of the soul.

4. The purpose of every thing lies within itself.

5. Virtue is knowledge.

6. Plato's theory of education is the initiation of spirituality of the state.

7. The state is a training institution.

8. Education is a social process.

9. Education is an excellence in itself.

10. Education is the means of social justice.

11. Education is the logical consequence of justice.

12. State has authority over education. Education should be state dependent and compulsory.


13. Education is only for the administrator and guardian class. Plato does not prescribe any kind of education for the productive class.

14. There should be equal education system for men and women so that both can have a hand in state administration.

Plato considered education as a means of philosophy of absolute truth and this truth is the philosophy of the soul, it is the path of truth. The asic aim of education is to expose the inner vision to the light.

Plato described the justice of the ideal state as a virtue. Ideal justice is implemented by these three things, intelligence, courage and restraint.

To keep justice alive from the state, Plato has given special emphasis on the education of all the three classes of guardians or judges, soldiers and professionals

Aims of Education / Objectives of Education 


According to Plato, the main objectives of education are as follows:-

1. Plato has clearly said in his work 'Republic' that- "Ignorance is the root of all evils." He considers education necessary for the development of virtues. He believed that conscience exists in a passive form in every child and the task of education is to make that conscience active. Man can be useful for himself and for the nation only by discretion.

2. Plato believed that truth is Shiva and Shiva is beautiful. Satyam, Shivam and Sundaram are such eternal values that all idealistic educationists are continuously trying to achieve.

Plato also considered it an important aim of education.

3. Plato believed that the state is a complete unit and the individual is actually for the state. That's why the unity of the state should be protected through education. Through education, the spirit of co-operation, goodwill and brotherhood should be developed among the students.

4. For the establishment of a state based on justice, it is necessary to create good citizens who understand their duties and behave accordingly. Through education, Plato wanted to develop the best qualities like responsibility, restraint, courage, war-skills in the new generation so that they can make the state powerful by fulfilling the responsibility of a good citizen.


5. Plato believed that there are only opposing elements in human life in which balance can be maintained through education. It is necessary to keep 'self' under control for the development of a balanced personality and proper conduct. It is possible to achieve this important goal only through education.

6. Plato has divided the society into three classes on the basis of inherent qualities of the individual

(i) Patrons

(ii) Soldiers

iii) Professional or productive class.

According to their ability and responsibility of all these three sections, the responsibility of maximum development has been considered of education. Plato did not consider it appropriate to think about the condition of the slaves.

In this way, Plato considers education very important for the highest development of both the individual and the state. In fact, it is education that develops human qualities in the biological child and makes him spiritual. In the view of Plato, the purpose of education is very broad.



According to Plato, in the first ten years of student life, some things of arithmetic, geometry, music and constellation should be learned

It has been talked about teaching poetry mathematics, sports, exercise, military training, etiquette and theology to the secondary level students. 

Plato considered sports as important and said that- "Its aim should not be to win competitions but to have healthy body and healthy entertainment. A healthy mind and a healthy soul can reside only in a healthy body.

Gymnastics and dance have also been given an important place in Plato's education system.

Plato has considered the education of literature especially poetry as important. Poetry is necessary for an intellectual, sensitive life. 

Plato has given a high place to mathematics considering it very important. He has described the use of logic as important in these subjects and has said that logic is helpful in attaining the supreme concept of God.

Level of Education 


Plato has divided education into different levels based on the stage of physical and mental development of children, which are as follows

1. Infancy- 

The age from birth to three years is considered as infancy. Children of this age group should get nutritious food. They should be nurtured properly. 

In Plato's ideal state, the child is the property of the state. Therefore, it is the duty of the state that there should be no laxity in the care of the children.

2. Nursery education- 

Children of three to six years of age come under this. In this period, they should be given elementary education. Stories should teach. Special attention should be paid to sports and general entertainment.

3. Elementary school education - 

In this age group, children of the age group of six to thirteen years come. The actual schooling begins with children of this age group. The children should be kept in state-run camps. 

The activities of boys and girls of this age group should be controlled and harmony should be established among them. During this period, they should be taught dance and music. 

Plato believed that the education of dance and music fills the student with a sense of respect and freedom, but along with this, health, beauty and strength also increase. The education of mathematics and religion should also be started during this period.

4. Secondary Education- 

This period is of the age of thirteen to sixteen years of the children.

Children of this age group should be taught poetry, study of religious material and principles of mathematics after completing the education of letter knowledge.


5. Exercise- 

According to Plato, this is the period of education of the youth in the age group of sixteen to twenty years. 

At the age of sixteen to eighteen, the body should be made strong by giving education to the boys and girls in exercise, gymnast, sports etc. Healthy and strong body is the basis of future military education. 

Provision has been made to give education and training to youths in the age group of 18 to 20 years in the use of weapons, horse riding, military operations, formation of formations etc.

6. Higher Education- 

This level of education should be given between the age of twenty to thirty years. To get this education, prospective students will have to give their eligibility test and only eligible and selected students will get higher education. In this period, provision has been made for the students to study subjects like arithmetic, geometry, music, constellation etc.

7. Higher Education- 

Students who have attained higher education in the age group up to thirty years will have to re-examine for further education and arrangements have been made for the selected students to study philosophy deeply.

After completing this education, they were declared philosophers. They will return to the society, that is, for fifteen years, they will be trained as mentors and get practical experience.

The state will be run by them only.


Teaching methods

Plato has considered logic appropriate for teaching. He also used the question and answer method. With this method lecture method and experimental method became popular. He emphasized on adopting self-study method for philosophy and logic. 

Plato gave more importance to games in education. He believed that the nature of the student is formed only through sports. Along with this, he said that the teacher should use these games very carefully.

According to Plato, teachers and schools wanted to establish institutions like Plato's ' Academy everywhere. He believed that it is very necessary for the development of the soul. He has considered the school as a necessary means for the spread of education. 

Plato has given an important place to the teacher because the teacher can do the work of spreading idealism very well.

Plato's contribution in the field of Education 

Plato's contribution in the field of education has been important, which can be described as follows:-

1. Plato provided equal opportunities for education for all.

2. He has shown the purpose of education is the development of the personality of the children.

3. Plato has accepted the necessity of women's education by emphasizing on it.


4. Plato's approach was idealistic, that is why he has given special emphasis on Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram.

5. Plato has considered the development of moral qualities necessary for the establishment of discipline.

6. Plato has determined the curriculum according to age and level.

7. Plato has given special attention to the advancement of industrial education.

8. Plato used the question and answer method in teaching. Apart from this, lecture method, experimental method and self-study method were also promoted.

9. The most modern concepts of modern thinkers and politicians - unity of knowledge, rule of law, gender discrimination and equality etc. had been developed by him.

In short, Plato can be considered the father of idealism in the field of politics and education.

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