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school graduation diploma

Education Definition and History

Education is the process of instruction and learning that takes place in academic settings or in the world at large.  Education involves the transmission of values and accumulated knowledge to successive generations.  In the United States of America, the educational system is organized into preschool, primary school, secondary school, undergraduate study, and graduate study levels.  Children younger than 5 years of age sometimes attend a preschool, while children aged 5 to 11 typically attend kindergarten and grades 1 through 5 at a primary level elementary school.  Preteens and teenagers aged 11 to 18 usually attend grades 6 through 8 at a secondary level middle school and grades 9 through 12 at a secondary level high school.  Beyond primary and secondary school, a student may attend a higher education establishment to obtain a bachelor's degree (based on undergraduate level studies) or a master's or doctoral degree (based on graduate level studies).
The first institution of higher learning to be founded was Harvard College, in 1640.  In Harvard's founding statement, we read, "After God had carried us safe to New England, and we had built our houses, provided necessities for our livelihood, reared convenient places for God's worship, and led the civil government, one of the next things we longed for and looked after was to advance learning and perpetuate it to posterity".  Interesting references to education and learning are found in Acts chapter 22, verse 3 of the New Testament, where Paul states that he was "educated according to the exactness of the law of our fathers".  More information about education is available on this Education Guide and Directory page.