The ability to grasp, reason, organise and apply knowledge in our lives has enabled us humans to create civilisation and to advance human desires and aspirations. This ability however is acquired only through the training of our mental faculties. This should be recognised as one of the fundamental roles of education. It would then be right to say that an educated person is one who has developed his mental faculties to provide him with the capability to acquire, organise and use knowledge to achieve the fulfilment of his desires in life.
In referring to the mental faculties, I do not mean the development of the intellect faculty alone, although it is highly important. My definition takes an inclusive and holistic view of the human personality in total. Human psychology also includes our emotions, self-identities, self-beliefs, conscience, values and behaviours as well as the intellect. Therefore a holistic approach to personal development is an important aspect of good education. Teaching students to observe, understand and confidently accept the uniqueness of one’s own self and the inherent desires that shapes our lives I believe is the first and foremost step in teaching personal development. Further areas for development can be based on the Panchakosha human constitutional model that provides us the most comprehensive functional-based model for personal development.
The concept of having personal development taught as an integral part to education is not something new. In the Hindu scriptures we find ancient teachers insisting on their students on developing their personality, cultivating mental discipline and acquiring a set of intellectual and emotional qualities. They even sometimes encourage them to pursue and gain experiences under certain life circumstances. In fact to the ancient sages only a seeker with mature mental facilities is deemed fit to assimilate high philosophical knowledge and realise wisdom. Indeed the human mind can reach limitless possibilities yet just as a knife cannot be of use unless it is well honed and sharpened so too our human mind needs to be trained to tap into its great potential.