Plato, in his proposed scheme of education, accepts certain assumptions; (i) soul, being initiative and active, throws up, through education, the best things that are latent in it; (ii) education moulds the character of the growing young; it does not provide eyes to the blind, but it does give vision to men with eyes; it brings soul to the realms of light; it activates and reactivates the individual; (iii) each level of education has a pre-assigned function: the elementary education helps individuals give direction to their powers; middle level education helps individuals understand their surroundings; and higher education helps individuals prepare, determine and decide their course of education; and (iv) education helps people earn a living and also helps them to become better human beings. Plato does not want to make education a commercial enterprise.
He wants, as Sabine tells us, that education must itself provide the needed means, must see that citizens actually get the training they require, and must be sure that the education supplied is consonant with the harmony and well-being of the state. “Plato’s plan, Sabine states, “is therefore, for a state-controlled system of compulsory education.
His educational scheme falls naturally into parts, the elementary education, which includes the training of the young person’s up to about the age of twenty and culminating in the beginning of military service, and the higher education, intended for those selected persons of both sexes who are to be members of the two ruling classes and extending from the age of twenty to thirty-five”.
Plato’s scheme of education had both the Athenian and the Spartan influence. Sabine writes: “It’s must genuinely Spartan feature was the dedication of education exclusively to civic training. Its content was typically Athenian, and its purpose was dominated by the end of moral and intellectual cultivation.”
The curriculum of the elementary education was divided into two parts, gymnastics for training the body, and music for training the mind. The elementary education was to be imparted to all the three classes. But after the age of twenty, those selected for higher education were those who were to hold the highest positions in the guardian class between twenty and thirty-five. The guardians were to be constituted of the auxiliary class, and the ruling class.
These two classes were to have a higher doze of gymnasium and music, greater doze of gymnastics for the auxiliaries, and greater doze of music for the rulers. The higher education of the two classes was, in purpose, professional, and for his curriculum Plato chose the only scientific studies mathematics, astronomy and logic. Before the two classes could get on to their jobs, Plato suggested a further education till the age of about fifty, mostly practical in nature.