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Education in primitive and early civilized cultures The term education can be applied to primitive cultures only in the sense of enculturation, which is the process of cultural transmission.
A primitive person, whose culture is the totality of his universe, has a relatively fixed sense of cultural continuity and timelessness.
Instead, the entire environment and all activities are frequently viewed as school and classes, and many or all adults act as teachers.
As societies grow more complex, however, the quantity of knowledge to be passed on from one generation to the next becomes more than any one person can know, and, hence, there must evolve more selective and efficient means of cultural transmission.
The teaching personnel may consist of fully initiated men, often unknown to the initiate though they are his relatives in other clans.
In contrast to the spontaneous and rather unregulated imitations in prepuberty education, postpuberty education in some cultures is strictly standardized and regulated.
Because of the variety in the countless thousands of primitive cultures, it is difficult to describe any standard and uniform characteristics of prepuberty education.
Nevertheless, certain things are practiced commonly within cultures.
For an analysis of educational philosophy, see education, philosophy of.
For an examination of some of the more important aids in education and the dissemination of knowledge, see dictionary; encyclopaedia; library; museum; printing; publishing, history of.