PHILOSOPHICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION: What are some of the objectives, goals, and aims of education?



1a i). Examine the objectives, goals, aims of education.


In this unit we shall define important terms used in this module to make understanding easy.

Unit Objectives

By the end of this lecture you should be able to:

  • Define education
  • Define aims
  • List examples of aims
  • Define goals
  • Give examples of goals
  • Define objectives
  • Give examples of objectives
  • Distinguish between goals and objectives
  • Define curriculum
  • Define philosophy
  • Describe the meaning of sociology.


 What is Education?

  • The word education is derived from a Latin word “educare” meaning “lead to.” Thus, education means to lead an individual to knowledge.
  • Webster Dictionary defines education as the process of educating or teaching.
  • Socrates a Greek Philosopher says that education is about drawing out what is already in a child.
  • The Penguin encyclopedia (1965) describes education as a process by which material, mental, and cultural inheritance of a society is transmitted to each new generation.
  • Oluoch (1982) defines education as a process of acquiring and developing desirable knowledge, skills and attitudes.
  • According to Dewey (1961) education is the development of all those capacities in the individual which will enable him to control the environment and fulfill his/her destiny.

Aims, Goals and Objectives of Education

Education is purposeful; it is concerned with outcomes that are expressed at several different levels. The most general level is statements of aims while the most specific is statements of objectives.


Sometimes people use the term aims to mean goals or objectives. If you will ask someone what is an aim? He or she will say it is a goal. What is a goal? It is an objective. What is an objective? It is an aim. The cycle will continue.

So are aims, goals and objectives the same? The answer is No. The three are targets. They are like three sisters who may appear the same but are not the same. There are differences among the terms, and it’s very important to distinguish them.

What are aims?

  • Aims are starting points.
  • They are endpoints.
  • They are distant and long-range targets that are achieved at the end of life.

     Examples of aims are:

    1. To be self – reliant.
    2. Self – Realization.

It will take a long period of time to make a child to be self-reliant or to realize himself or herself.

Goals of Education.

What are goals?

  • Goals are outcomes of education.
  • They are statements that give direction to what is to be done by teachers and educators.
  • They are the guiding statements that tell teachers what is to be achieved.
  • Goals are general descriptions of desired outcomes.
  • Goals are relatively short-term targets that are achieved at the end of a programme or school life.

National goals of education in Kenya

Goals of education describe what is to be achieved through education by educational institutions for example to unite all Kenyans and develop Kenya. This means that all educational institutions starting from pre- primary schools should work towards the achievement of the goals. They should provide knowledge, skills and attitudes to facilitate the achievement of the national goals of education. The role of managers of educational institutions is to ensure that the goals are achieved.

Examples of goals are the national goals of education in Kenya. The goals are:

  • To foster nationalism, patriotism and promote national unity.
  • To promote the social economic, technological and industrial needs for national development.
  • To promote individual development and self-fulfillment.
  • To promote sound social equality and responsibility.
  • To promote sound religious values.
  • To promote respect for and development of Kenya’s rich and varied cultures.
  • To promote international consciousness and foster positive attitudes towards other nations.
  • To promote positive attitudes, good health and environmental protection.


What are objectives?

  • Objectives are immediate and shot –term targets.
  • They are specific outcomes.
  • Objectives are statements about the outcomes of learning activities.
  • They are target which describes the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be acquired.

General objectives are stated in general terms. The objectives describe how a child should look like by the end of pre-primary school education. Managers or teachers who have a clear understanding of what they are supposed to achieve will easily achieve them compared to those who do not have a clear understanding. This is to say that a person who knows where he is going will easily reach there compared to a person who doesn’t know.

Examples of objectives are the objectives of Social studies in ECDE Kenya. The objectives are:

  • To familiarize with the surrounding environment.
  • To appreciate the surrounding environment and cultural heritage, and hence conserve them.
  • To use things found within the surrounding properly.
  • To develop observation and discovery skills.

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