Difference Between Education and Schooling

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    educationEducation vs Schooling

    ‘She’s well educated.’

    ‘His schooling was completed traditionally.’

    Education and schooling appear to be the same thing; however, on pondering the idiosyncrasies of both disciplines, they take on different meanings and outcomes. Is the process of ‘educating’ someone dissimilar to that of ‘schooling’ another, or is the process exactly the same? This article examines the differences and the similarities between the aspects of education and schooling.


    Webster’s defines education as ‘knowledge and development resulting from an instructive process’, or more specifically, the act or progression of acquiring or imparting knowledge. Most people think a good education is the result of completing a specific number of years in a formal instructive discipline, such as higher educations acquired in colleges and universities in a specific field of study.

    Webster’s dictionary defines schooling as ‘the process of being taught, such as in a school’. ‘Schooling’ is often thought to occur in the lower grades, where children are taught the basics which enable them to continue learning at the higher educational institutions. ‘Schooling’ is also thought to be accomplished in a particular vocational skill or trade, such as a ‘mechanics’ or ‘beauty’ school.

    The difference between the definitions is subjective.


    As communities grew, knowledge expanded, inventions came more frequently, and a greater need for the next generations to have a more formal educational process developed. The educational process began with the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic; eventually adding additional instruction, such as history, geography, music, sciences, philosophies, religion, social studies, and arts. Advanced mathematics, sciences, and many other disciplines, became part of the educational process.

    No one actually knows when formal schooling began. Could it have been with the cavemen training their children with the survival skills to continue their lives, and pass their skills on to countless generations of descendents? Prior to written languages, learning processes existed solely as oral traditions; societies were developed based on communicating this knowledge, or ‘schooling’ the next generation. One of the earliest examples of schooling found, was in Egypt, around 3000BC.


    There are many methods of getting a higher education, and many theories for the most expedient and superlative manner to accomplish the goals. There are many varieties of approaches to identify the student’s abilities and aptitudes, and appropriate methodologies that focus on how personalities affect learning abilities. All learners fall into a specific category of oral learners, visual learners, or kinesthetic learners, and different approaches are more effective based on their needs.

    There are many varieties of ‘schooling’ that have been popular and unpopular over the last several centuries. Grouping students together in common locations has existed and continued since the ancient Greek times. Another method of schooling is called ‘self-paced’, and this is when the students learn at their own pace, and are not forced to follow a daily curriculum. Since students learn differently, there is not one all-encompassing solution for education or schooling.


    1. Webster’s defines education as ‘knowledge and development resulting from an instructive process’, but Webster’s dictionary defines schooling as ‘the process of being taught, such as in a school’.

    2. Education improved as the communities developed, but no one knows when schooling actually began.

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