Education studies looks at education from different perspectives: philosophical, historical, social and psychological thus offering a holistic view. It also helps us understand what education is, how it functions and what are its aims. Knowing all of this puts us in a better position to improve it.
It has been argued that the concept of education is contestable (MacIntyre, 1973). The definition of the term vary in accordance to the socio-cultural background in which it was developed, thus there is no general accepted definition of the term (Carr, 2003, p. 3). Hirst and Peters (1970) definition states that education is the sum of processes that aims to develop desirable qualities, knowledge and understanding in people (p. 19). Critics of Hirst and Peters argue that this definition is too abstract and has an intellectualism and elitist bias. .
Education is closely related with the terms of learning and teaching. Teaching is sometimes used as a synonym to education. Learning is the process in of acquiring new information or mastering of a new skill (Hirst and Peters, 1970). According to Peters (1966), "being educated " entails that: (i) one has a body of knowledge and a degree of understanding involving a conceptual scheme by reference to which what one knows is more than a collection of disjointed facts; (ii) such knowledge can't be "inert " in the sense that it can be hived off as it were, and thereby fail to characterize one's way of looking at things for "education " implies that a man's outlook is transformed by "what he knows "; (iii) one has what he calls a "cognitive perspective " whereby one does not have an impossibly limited conception of what one is engaged in; (iv) unlike being trained, an educated person is not merely competent at performing a particular task, rather her competence is linked to a much wider belief system then someone merely trained (pp. 30-4).
Education is a very powerful tool that can shape the way society looks, but in order to change any aspect of society with the aid of education we must first have an intimate knowledge about how it works and what are its flaws.