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Student participants in the FIRST Robotics Competition, Washington, D. Education is the process of facilitating learning, or the acquisition of knowledge, skills, values, beliefs, and habits. A right to education has been recognized by some governments and the United Nations. In most regions, education is compulsory up to a certain age. Education began in prehistory, as adults trained the young in the knowledge and skills deemed necessary in their society. In pre-literate societies, this was achieved orally and through imitation.
Story-telling passed knowledge, values, and skills from one generation to the next. Plato founded the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in Europe. State of Lu, was the country’s most influential ancient philosopher, whose educational outlook continues to influence the societies of China and neighbours like Korea, Japan, and Vietnam. The church established cathedral schools in the Early Middle Ages as centres of advanced education. The Renaissance in Europe ushered in a new age of scientific and intellectual inquiry and appreciation of ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. In most countries today, full-time education, whether at school or otherwise, is compulsory for all children up to a certain age. Due to this the proliferation of compulsory education, combined with population growth, UNESCO has calculated that in the next 30 years more people will receive formal education than in all of human history thus far.
Formal education occurs in a structured environment whose explicit purpose is teaching students. Usually, formal education takes place in a school environment with classrooms of multiple students learning together with a trained, certified teacher of the subject. Preschools provide education from ages approximately three to seven, depending on the country when children enter primary education. These are also known as nursery schools and as kindergarten, except in the US, where kindergarten is a term used for primary education. In general, primary education consists of six to eight years of schooling starting at the age of five or six, although this varies between, and sometimes within, countries. In India, for example, compulsory education spans over twelve years, with eight years of elementary education, five years of primary schooling and three years of upper primary schooling. In most contemporary educational systems of the world, secondary education comprises the formal education that occurs during adolescence.
Secondary education in the United States did not emerge until 1910, with the rise of large corporations and advancing technology in factories, which required skilled workers. Secondary education has a longer history in Europe, where grammar schools or academies date from as early as the 16th century, in the form of public schools, fee-paying schools, or charitable educational foundations, which themselves date even further back. Community colleges offer another option at this transitional stage of education. They provide nonresidential junior college courses to people living in a particular area. Higher education, also called tertiary, third stage, or postsecondary education, is the non-compulsory educational level that follows the completion of a school such as a high school or secondary school. Higher education typically involves work towards a degree-level or foundation degree qualification. Carpentry is normally learned through apprenticeship.
Vocational education is a form of education focused on direct and practical training for a specific trade or craft. In the past, those who were disabled were often not eligible for public education. Children with disabilities were repeatedly denied an education by physicians or special tutors. While considered “alternative” today, most alternative systems have existed since ancient times. After the public school system was widely developed beginning in the 19th century, some parents found reasons to be discontented with the new system. In time, some ideas from these experiments and paradigm challenges may be adopted as the norm in education, just as Friedrich Fröbel’s approach to early childhood education in 19th-century Germany has been incorporated into contemporary kindergarten classrooms.
Indigenous education refers to the inclusion of indigenous knowledge, models, methods, and content within formal and non-formal educational systems. Often in a post-colonial context, the growing recognition and use of indigenous education methods can be a response to the erosion and loss of indigenous knowledge and language through the processes of colonialism. In informal learning, there is often a reference person, a peer or expert, to guide the learner. If learners have a personal interest in what they are informally being taught, learners tend to expand their existing knowledge and conceive new ideas about the topic being learned. While informal learning often takes place outside educational establishments and does not follow a specified curriculum, it can also occur within educational settings and even during formal learning situations.