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.

Plato theory of education



According to Plato, aim of education

It was important for Plato for following reasons:-

(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.

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.

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.