The following four philosophies will be discussed.



1. Focus is ideas that have lasted over centuries

Perennialists believe that the focus of education should be the ideas that have lasted over centuries. They believe the ideas are as relevant and meaningful today as when they were written. They recommend that students learn from reading and analyzing the works by history’s finest thinkers and writers. They believe that when students study these works and ideas, they will appreciate learning.

2. Aim is intellectual development

Pererinialism, aims to develop students’ intellectual and moral qualities.

3. Classroom is teacher centered

Perennialist classrooms are also centered on teachers in order to accomplish these goals. The teachers are not concerned about the students’ interests or experiences. They use tried and true teaching methods and techniques that are believed to be most beneficial to disciplining students’ minds.

4. Curriculum is universal

The perennialist curriculum is universal and is based on their view that all human beings possess the same essential nature. Perennialists think it is important that individuals think deeply, analytically, flexibly, and imaginatively. They emphasize that students should not be taught information that may soon be outdated or found to be incorrect.

5. School is teach concepts and explain what is meaningful

Perennialists disapprove of teachers requiring students to absorb massive amounts of disconnected information. They recommend that schools spend more time teaching about concepts and explaining they are meaningful to students. The only example would be a class about religion or history. The instructor would use religious books and historical documents.


1. Focus is an essential knowledge, skills and character development

Essentialism tries to instill all students with the most essential or basic academic knowledge and skills and character development. Essentialists believe that teachers should try to embed traditional moral values and virtues such as respect for authority, perseverance, fidelity to duty, consideration for others, and practicality and intellectual knowledge that students need to become model citizens.

2. Curriculum is based on essential subjects like science, history, language maths, science, literature

The foundation of essentialist curriculum is based on traditional disciplines such as math, natural science, history, foreign language, and literature. Essentialists frown upon vocational courses. In the essentialist system, students are required to master a set body of information and basic techniques for their grade level before they are promoted to the next higher grade. The content gradually moves towards more complex skills and detailed knowledge.

3.Teacher oriented

Essentialists argue that classrooms should be teacher- oriented. The teacher should serve as an intellectual and moral role model for the students. The teachers or administrators decide what is most important for the students to learn with little regard to the student interests. The teachers also focus on achievement test scores as a means of evaluating progress.

4. Student Centered

The essentialist classroom is centered on students being taught about the people, events, ideas, and institutions that have shaped society.

5. End Product (students) are disciplined and practical minded

Essentialists hope that when students leave school, they will not only possess basic knowledge and skills, but they will also have disciplined, practical minds, capable of applying lessons learned in school in the real world..

6. Teaching method is lecture based introduction and application of learned material

Students in this system would sit in rows and be taught in masses. The students would learn passively by sitting in their desks and listening to the teacher. An example of essentialism would be lecture based introduction classes taught at universities. Students sit and take notes in a classroom which holds over one hundred students. They take introductory level courses in order to introduce them to the content. After they have completed this course, they will take the next level course and apply what they have learned previously.

7. Fundamental skills and subjects are essential

Essentialism, also known as basic education, asserts that certain fundamental skills and subjects are crucial to perpetuating and continuing human civilization. These fundamentals or essentials are the skills of literacy (reading and writing) and computation (arithmetic) and the subjects of history, mathematics, science, languages, and literature. Deliberate instruction that transmits the basic skills and knowledge areas from one generation to the next guarantees civilization’s perpetuation and survival. Failure to transmit these necessary skills and subjects puts civilization in peril. The great amount to learn and limited time to learn it mean that curriculum and instruction must be carefully planned and organized and efficiently transmitted by teachers to students.


1. Focus is an individuality, progress and change

Progressivists believe that individuality, progress, and change are fundamental to one’s education. Believing that people learn best from what they consider most relevant to their lives.

2. Curriculum is students centered

Progressivists center their curricula on the needs, experiences, interests, and abilities of students.

3. Teachers plan lesson and develop interest

Progressivist teachers try making school interesting and useful by planning lessons that provoke curiosity.

4. Activity, project and problem solving method are used

In a progressivist school, students are actively learning. The students interact with one another and develop social qualities such as cooperation and tolerance for different points of view. In addition, students solve problems in the classroom similar to those they will encounter in their everyday lives.

5. Education is a process of on going growth

Progressivists believe that education should be a process of ongoing growth, not just a preparation for becoming an adult.

6. Dewey’s View:

After reading John Dewey’s book and discussing his thoughts and ideas in class, one can see John Dewey’s relationship to progressivism. He wanted students to learn through action and being involved in the processes that will get to the end product. He wanted the students to work on hands-on projects so learning would take place, rather than memorization. In a regular classroom students just memorize what they need to know and it goes away after the test. In Dewey’s mind, the students would have to exercise their brain by problem solving and thinking critically, resulting in learning (even though the students may not even know it!).

This allows the individual’s brain to develop, so as the individual grows learning becomes easier! After attending a school Dewey would have set up, a child would be ready for the real world and a lot of the everyday setbacks that an individual would experience, such as losing a button, changing a tire, making lunch, or balancing a checkbook. School would be a lot of hands-on learning, and the progression of education would not end!


Characteristics of Islamic Philosophy of Education:

The Basic Characteristics of Islamic Philosophy of Education:

  • God is the ultimate reality.
  • Qura’an and hadith are the basic sources of knowledge.
  • Education of all types is governed by religious and ethical objectives.
  • Education focuses on character building, preparing the man for this material world and the world thereafter. It is more nearer to the life and its functions.
  • Education is free and compulsory for the youth.
  • Equal opportunities are made available for all the members of society.
  • Islamic system of education establishes a balance between the individual and society.
  • Knowledge is presented as an identity and not as the branches in isolation.
  • Education is meant for character building and preparation of life.
  • Education is treated as a blessing for both the worlds.
  • Education of the youth is the sole responsibility of the parents.
  • Education makes the man conversant with the purpose of creation and instills faith in man.

Philosophical Basis in Concept of Reality

  • God is the ultimate reality the truth of which may not be gained by man.
  • God is one who can be worshiped.
  • God is All knowing, living, everlasting, Omni potent, Omni present, Omni seecient.

Concept of Knowledge

The knowledge according to Islam has three stages.

  • Deductive Knowledge
  • Observatory Knowledge
  • Empirical Knowledge.

Deductive knowledge is the lowest level of knowledge. Observation leads it to perfection through experiencing. The last stage comes very late.

Concept of Values

  • Values may be spiritual or material. Spiritual values govern the material values.
  • The value of paramount importance is to develop in oneself Godley qualities like veridicality, potential, affection, impartially, gracefulness, charity etc.

Objectives of Education

  • To make the people understand the powers given to them and make to use of these according to the will of God.
  • To make the people understand preach and follow the path of Islamic teachings.
  • To prepare the people to explore the treasures of God And use these for the betterment of humanity.
  • To shape the character of an individual which should look like a Muslim in the true sense.
  • To enable an individual to capture the universe for the benefit of humanity.

Education Process


Student’s character building is given importance because he/she is supposed to be an innocent soul.


  • Teacher is given the status of a spiritual father.
  • Teacher is supposed to have the qualities of tolerance, patience, hardworking, honesty and punctuality.
  • Teacher is free to use the method of teaching which he supposes the best.


  • It should have two essential parts revealed knowledge and acquired knowledge.
  • Revealed knowledge is included in the curriculum without any charge and is compulsory for all.
  • The acquired knowledge, which is beneficial for humanity, is included in the curriculum and is not compulsory for all the people.

Teaching Methods

Rote memorization, drill, dictation, discussion, lecture method, problem-solving and in-depth study method may be used by the teacher.

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