It's interesting that literally every single person in this thread took Education to mean either: a) Vocational training b) Institutions
Anybody heard the term Enlightenment?
Sure, but is that the same thing as education?
It's one side of it that, as the microcosm of this thread makes painfully obvious, is more and more underrepresented today.
Generally, you can split views on the purpose of education into two separate parties - The traditional Enlightenment view which holds that "the goal of human life is to inquire and create, to search the riches of the past and try to internalize the parts of them that are significant to you - carrying the quest for knowledge further in your own way.".
The other side, the one to which everybody but myself in this thread (whether knowingly or not) belongs to, is essentially corporate indoctrination. The idea that from a young age (~5 or 6 in my country) people should be placed into a framework in which they will follow orders, learn to be disciplined, learn to accept/believe that their true success comes from careerism and material wealth. This obviously requires that students/young people accept existing 'paradigms' (don't like using the word, but here I mean it in a strictly Kuhnian sense) and NOT challenge or question them or challenge any systems.
This is the doctrine of the late-capitalist education system. It may seem here that I am elaborating on implied consequences of indoctrination within the current education system, but on the contrary they are often quite explicit - After (and during) the civil rights movement of the 1960's the general educated class of America decided that young people were too 'free', too liberated and the country was become too democratic, that these things were dangerous to the country - this spawned a well-known and important study 'The Crisis of Democracy' that concluded that certain institutions (universities, highschools, churches etc) were responsible for the "indoctrination of the young" (not my phrase, theirs) and they were not doing their job properly. Educational institutions were then remodeled to indoctrinate and control more efficiently, and that is the educational institution we are dealing with today. (more info on this here
From general opinion and indeed from this thread, it would seem that this undertaking has been most successful. So the fact that only recently (last century) the education system has been turned away from its original (and I stress original here) purpose - that which I elaborated upon first in this post; and towards this newer purpose of control and indoctrination gives some insight what in my opinion is the absolutely disgusting and shameful state of education in the west. The fact that most people like those of you in this thread do not even consider the issue I have raised here (which is obviously of more import than those quibbled over in this thread - politics and the job market and fairness etc in that it has an effect on something much more grander - the actual progression of our species, perhaps even it's destiny) is worrying. Look at the bigger picture people!
a quote from Noam Chomsky (who writes brilliantly on the topic) from a seminar called Learning Without Frontiers in London earlier this year. (Jan I think)