Good to see you all happy new month.
Today let us consider the contribution of this great man by name "Plato" to education. The history of educational thought began about four centuries before now. Remote as that time was from the present age, the ideas of these great men of old have continued to influence our learning.
Little historical background of Plato (428-347 BC)
He was born of a rich parents and received the best education that was possible in Athens of his time. He was not only a friend but a faithful student of Socrates whose teaching and life style greatly influenced him (Plato). He built a school called "The Academy" where he lived and worked for the rest of his life as an educator, Philosopher and Political scientist. He wrote many books including the "Republic" and "Law". He was a man full of new ideas and he used these ideas to create an educational system in Athens and to change the educational ideas of many nations in the world.
Major Contributions Of Plato To Education.
Before the time of Plato, there were no organized schools existing in Athens or Greece or even in the whole western world. "The Academy" which he established was the first of its kind. He organized it to include elementary, secondary and higher education. From Athens, this ideas of organized school spread throughout Greece, the Roman empire and the western world in general. Nigeria today, enjoys the fruit of this educational idea of Plato.
Greeks generally were lovers of games. Children were not left out because they believed that play is a natural activity of childhood. Plato suggested that children's play should be supervised and carried out in a special place. This later become a nursery school. This is how nursery school came to existence. He recommended the play - way method of instruction by imitation and listening. Nigeria is not left out getting the benefits of nursery education.
The ideas of universal and compulsory education was also first suggested by Plato. Earlier in his career as an educator, he was in support of restricting education to the guardians who would be trained as future leaders of the state. But later, his ideas about educational provisions changed. He later recommended universal and compulsory education for all free citizens including male and female. The inclusion of females in this compulsory education also points to the fact that Plato introduced the idea of equal educational opportunity for all citizen. Certainly, Nigeria supports equal educational opportunity for male and female as well as universal primary education. But education has not been made compulsory in Nigeria.
State control of education is another important educational idea of Plato. He saw this as a way of bringing about proper organization and supervision of schools and instruction. He suggested the appointment of a "Director of Education" assisted by a committee of experts to advise him on educational matters. He was to decide what should be taught, how it should be taught and supervised the work of the teachers. Nigeria has also benefited from this educational model.
Also the need for training people for the work of adult life made Plato to see the need for technical and vocational types of education. He said, according to my view, anyone who would be good at anything must practice that thing from his youth upwards..... (Plato "Laws" 643). This educational ideas has also spread to every part of the present world including Nigeria.
Now Plato Relevance to Nigeria Education
Plato may be called a revolutionary philosopher because his ideas have caused many changes in education all over the world. His ideas were far ahead of his time and this is why they are still influencing education in many countries of the world. Nigeria is one of such countries. In practically all the areas we have just mention - establishment and organization of primary, secondary and higher education, the setting up of nursery schools, the universal primary education, equal educational opportunity for boys and girls, state control of education, and the setting up of technical and vocational education - Plato's educational ideas have influenced our own educational system.
• Plato established the first formal school in Europe called "The Academy". He developed it into an education complex containing primary, secondary and higher education.
• He also began the first Nursery education in Athens.
• He was the first to introduce the ideas of equal educational opportunity for male and female.
• He was the first to express the need for technical and vocational education
• His educational ideas indeed influenced the whole world.
Thank you and do have a bless month full of fun.