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date: 09 December 2023


  1. I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.
    John Adams 1735–1826 American Federalist statesman, 2nd President 1797–1801: letter to Abigail Adams, 12 May 1780
  2. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul.
    Joseph Addison 1672–1719 English poet, dramatist, and essayist: The Spectator no. 215 (6 November 1711)
  3. Give me a child for the first seven years, and you may do what you like with him afterwards.
    Anonymous: attributed as a Jesuit maxim, in Lean's Collectanea vol. 3 (1903); see Spark
  4. We learn an art or craft by doing the things that we shall have to do when we have learnt it.
    often quoted as ‘What we have to learn to do, we learn by doing’
    Aristotle 384–322 bc Greek philosopher: Nicomachean Ethics bk. 2, 1103a 30
  5. The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
    Aristotle 384–322 bc Greek philosopher: Diogenes Laertius Lives of Philosophers bk. 5, sect. 18
  6. Studies serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability.
    Francis Bacon 1561–1626 English lawyer, courtier, philosopher, and essayist: Essays (1625) ‘Of Studies’
  7. I read Shakespeare and the Bible and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.
    Tallulah Bankhead 1903–68 American actress: attributed
  8. Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine.
    Matsuo Basho 1644–94 Japanese poet: Nobuyuki Yuasa (ed.) Basho. The Narrow Road to the Deep North (1966) introduction
  9. Ask me my three main priorities for Government, and I tell you: education, education and education.
    Tony Blair 1953–  British Labour statesman, Prime Minister 1997—2007: speech at the Labour Party Conference, 1 October 1996
  10. The liberally educated person is one who is able to resist the easy and preferred answers, not because he is obstinate but because he knows others worthy of consideration.
    Allan Bloom 1930–92 American writer and educator: The Closing of the American Mind (1987)
  11. Education makes a people easy to lead, but difficult to drive; easy to govern, but impossible to enslave.
    Lord Brougham 1778–1868 Scottish lawyer and politician: attributed
  12. To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education.
    John Buchan 1875–1940 Scottish novelist: Memory Hold-the-Door (1940)
  13. Gie me ae spark o' Nature's fire,
    That's a' the learning I desire.
    Robert Burns 1759–96 Scottish poet: ‘Epistle to J. L[aprai]k’ (1786) st. 13
  14. The empires of the future are the empires of the mind.
    Winston Churchill 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: speech at Harvard, 6 September 1943, in Onwards to Victory (1944)
  15. In education there should be no class distinction.
    Confucius (K'ung Fu-tzu) 551–479 bc Chinese philosopher: Analects ch. 15, v. 38, tr. Wing-Tsit Chan
  16. Study as if you were to live for ever; live as if you were to die tomorrow.
    St Edmund of Abingdon c.1175–1240 English scholar and churchman: John Crozier St Edmund of Abingdon (1982)
  17. It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry.
    Albert Einstein 1879–1955 German-born theoretical physicist: Paul Schilpp Albert Einstein: Philosopher-Scientist (1949) ‘Autobiographical Notes’
  18. Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.
    Robert Frost 1874–1963 American poet: in Reader's Digest April 1960
  19. If we are to reach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.
    Mahatma Gandhi 1869–1948 Indian statesman: in Young India 19 November 1921
  20. Say not, When I have leisure I will study; perchance thou wilt never have leisure.
    Hillel ‘The Elder’ c.60 bc– c.ad 9 Jewish scholar and teacher: in Talmud Mishnah ‘Pirqei Avot’ 2:5
  21. The aim of education is the knowledge not of facts but of values.
    William Ralph Inge 1860–1954 English writer; Dean of St. Paul's, 1911–34: ‘The Training of the Reason’ in A. C. Benson (ed.) Cambridge Essays on Education (1917)
  22. If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don't teach him to subtract—teach him to deduct.
    Fran Lebowitz 1950–  American writer: Social Studies (1981)
  23. The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles but to irrigate deserts.
    C. S. Lewis 1898–1963 English literary scholar: The Abolition of Man (1943)
  24. If we succeed in giving the love of learning, the learning itself is sure to follow.
    John Lubbock 1834–1913 English biologist and politician: The Pleasures of Life (1887) pt. 1, ch. 10
  25. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
    Nelson Mandela 1918–2013 South African statesman: speech, Madison Park High School, Boston, 23 June 1990; reported in various forms
  26. If you educate a man you educate one person, but if you educate a woman you educate a family.
    Ruby Manikan Indian church leader: in Observer 30 March 1947
  27. Education costs money, but then so does ignorance.
    Claus Moser 1922–2015 British statistician: speech to the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Swansea, 20 August 1990
  28. If you want to know the reason why I'm standing here, it's because of education. I never cut class.
    Michelle Obama 1964–  American First Lady: to schoolgirls at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, London, 2 April 2009
  29. For the mind does not require filling like a bottle, but rather, like wood, it only requires kindling to create in it an impulse to think independently and an ardent desire for the truth.
    Plutarch c.ad 46–c.120 Greek philosopher and biographer: Moralia sect. 48c ‘On Listening to Lectures’; see Rabelais
  30. Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
    B. F. Skinner 1904–90 American psychologist: in New Scientist 21 May 1964
  31. What does education often do? It makes a straight-cut ditch of a free, meandering brook.
    Henry David Thoreau 1817–62 American writer: Journal November 1850
  32. By instructing students how to learn, unlearn and relearn, a powerful new dimension can be added to education…Tomorrow's illiterate will not be the man who can't read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn.
    now usually quoted as ‘The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn’
    Alvin Toffler 1928–2016 American writer: Future Shock (1970)
  33. It [education] has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading, an easy prey to sensations and cheap appeals.
    G. M. Trevelyan 1876–1962 English historian: English Social History (1942) ch. 18
  34. Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run.
    Mark Twain 1835–1910 American writer: A Curious Dream (1872) ‘Facts concerning the Recent Resignation’
  35. The best thing for being sad…is to learn something.
    T. H. White 1906–64 English novelist: The Sword in the Stone (1938)
  36. Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.
    Oscar Wilde 1854–1900 Irish dramatist and poet: Intentions (1891) ‘The Critic as Artist’ pt. 1
  37. One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world. Education is the only solution. Education first.
    Malala Yousafzai 1997–  Pakistani education campaigner: speaking to the United Nations General Assembly, New York, 12 July 2013