Plato’s theory of education

Education has always occupied the core of the heart of building a better society. Many great philosophers have not given more importance to education like Plato, who gave more importance to education to develop intellectual, knowledge in every individual and create a better society. Plato, the son of Greek, was born around 427/428 BC. He was a great philosopher of Greek. Nothing is holier than knowledge in this world says Bhagavad Gita. Similarly, Plato wanted to make an ideal State. A state where there is justice and if the system of justice fails then the remedy is education. Education is the only source and medium through which Justice could be established in an ideal state. education, Plato says is analogous to the theory of Justice unless the various classes perform their functions which have been assigned to them. The ideal State can not be formed, he also says that virtue is knowledge and that could be learned and taught. If education is neglected state becomes meaningless. the purpose of the education is to raise a man to a higher standard of life and that is where he says education builds goodness and wisdom in human beings. a state is a spiritual organism that needs a spiritual basis and education provides the foundation.

Plato theory of education

According to Plato, aim of education

The aim of platonic education is to discover the innate element of the individual and to train them for social use he also believed that to make an individual complete personality an education helps in the overall development of an individual. education teaches an individual to be dutiful to perform their functions and duties properly to be efficient and a public spirited administrators.

(1)This is because, through education, knowledge can be transmitted or spread among the people. In simple words, education can develop a good mindset of the people.

(2) Another important reason is the philosopher king. This is because Plato wanted an ideal state in Athens.

(3) He also wanted a proper justice system in the society.

So Barker has rightly pointed that education is an attempt to cure mental Melody by mental medicine.

compulsory education

Theory of education of plato begins with the necessity of education. Every child has opportunities for education. There is no such discrimination between genders. Both girls and boys will have compulsory education during childhood. Despite the hierarchical structure and class system in Plato’s philosophy, the compulsory education system still exists.

Spartan System of Education And Athenian system of Education- 

Before Plato talks about his own system of Education, he studied the two education systems which were prevailing at that time. The two major Greek cities were Athens and Sparta. The Athenian education system was different from that of the education system of Sparta and so Plato adopted the positive points from both the education structure.

Athenian system of Education

if we look at the Athenian system of Education we will find that that there was no interference of State. the family the parents were responsible for the education of their wards. they have to arrange education. females were not given education like that of the male members. the education system was divided into three stages:-

  1. primary
  2. secondary and
  3. tertiary
  1. primary

The primary stage begins from the age of 6 years to 14 years which includes subjects like music and Gymnastics music in the ethanine system has a very wider concept it includes poetry drama literature Fine Arts all these kinds of subjects whereas gymnastics is for physical health it also talks about medicine.

2. secondary

secondary education starts from the age of 14 years to 18 years this was the privilege of the rich people only since the parents who can afford those who have the capabilities to pay to the softest were arranging education for their wards. the higher education was confirmed in rhetoric and politics.

3. Tertiary state

the tertiary state begins from 18 to 20 years and that was complete military training which was compulsory for all the youths.

 Spartan System of Education

if we look at the country’s Sparta it was surrounded by all the three sides by enemies. so there was a demand for a rigorous military education, you could say physical education. so constant War has forced them to design their education system in such a manner and the education was the responsibility of the state.

– it was a fully State-controlled education system.

– parents were not involved in the process.

– females were kept on a similar pedestal in terms of education.

– so there was an equal education for both men and women.

-youths were trained into Stout faithful and warrior-like citizens.

Education begins at the age of seven years where the children were taken from their parents and they were separated in an open Barracks where they were being trained this system of Education treated rich and poor alike so they developed the idea of equality living in a society together. gymnastic was the pride of the place which give them physical training music and dance was also a part of the training special emphasis was given on training for physical Warfare so since their military attacks demanded such kind of education courage only was trained while wisdom was left untouched. so if you look at the education system of Athens and Sparta you will find that the ethanine system was most close to developing wisdom whereas the Sparta provided military training.


→ Higher Education an Innovation

→ Balanced Growth of Human facilities

→ State-controlled Education

→ Education for both the Sexes

→ Education meant for all the classes

→ Censorship of Books and Literature

→ Education is a matter of life time

→ Ideal State as product of Education

Plato’s Education System

Plato’s system of education is simple, not too complicated. Plato’s education system has two stages.

1.Primary education

Primary education includes physical education, intellectual education,moral education. Primary education is till  age of 20 years.

2. Higher education

Higher education generally emphasized on advance education, philosophical education. This higher is from age 20 years till final examination. Those students can pursue higher education, who qualify the first examination, which is conducted at age of 20.

Primary Education-  

It’s starts from age of 6 to till first examination.

Physical education

Physical education starts from the age of 6 to 10 years. Physical education is compulsory in every school. Every school should have a gymnasium and a playground. Plato believed that sports should be the main subject of the curriculum. Up to the age of ten all children shall receive mainly physical education. The main objective of physical education is to develop healthy health in children to combat various types of diseases so that they do not need any medicine in their future life.

Intellectual education.

Intellectual education takes place from 11 to 15 years of age. During these ages, children would receive music lessons to enhance their physical firmness as well as spiritual softness. During music education, children also get an education in science, mathematics, and history. The reason for this is that children do not have to be distracted from other subjects. That is why children were also introduced to other subjects such as science, mathematics, and history during their training in music.

Moral education 

Moral education begins at the age of 16 to 20 years. For Plato, education is incomplete without moral education. He was of the view that ideals like justice, fairness, and compassion should be provided to all. Plato argues that providing education will help develop a better society. In other words, moral education is necessary for the development of the character of an individual.

First Exam:-

At the age of 20, the student has to take his first higher-level examination to check his level of learning. Those who pass this exam will be sent for higher education. Unsuccessful students would be sent to become farmers, mechanics, and traders.

Higher education:-

This higher education starts from the age of 21 to 30 where students will get advanced education in physical, moral, and mental training.

Second Exam:-

The students took their second exam at the age of 30. Those who pass this exam continue their education. Those who do not clear this test will be sent to become soldiers in the Navy and Army.

philosophical education

Those who passed the second examination would receive philosophical education from the age of 31 to 35. After completing the philosophical education, the students return to worldly life. They will lead a worldly life till the age of 50 years. They are sent to the worldly life to learn the lesson from their struggling life that how to deal with problems and how to solve the problems.

Final examination.

The final exam is conducted at the age of 50 years. Those who pass this test will qualify for philosopher kingship. And those who will not qualify in this exam will be appointed to the post of Assistant.

Plato’s education has been criticised

Despite having a attractive vision, theory of education of Plato is not without shortcomings. Many issues regarding the ability and potential drawbacks of his educational Approach have been addressed up.

1. Elitism and Lack of Individuality: Plato’s system is very elitist because only a small number of people are considered qualified to hold positions of authority and get extensive philosophical education. This strategy disregards the uniqueness and potential of people who are not selected, restricting possibilities based on evaluation rather than the pursuit of particular interests and passions.

2. Overemphasis on Rationality: Plato’s strong emphasis on philosophical and intellectual training may overshadow the significance of emotional and social intelligence.

3. Utopian Idealism: Plato’s theory of education is generally rooted in the assumption of the ideal state and the main objective of Plato’s education is to develop a philosopher king. Except philosopher king, Plato does not focus on other ways to find or develop a king.