Education is a process that entails learning, nurturing and teaching. The word education springs from a Latin word that means breeding, leading, forming, erecting, etc. During the Middle Ages, the first universities of Europe, were associated with and run by the church, and deans, professors and people who held positions of power within the universities were usually members of the clergy, archbishops etc.
It is worth remembering that only a very small portion of the population was literate at that time, constituting mainly of the upper classes and the clergy. It was crucial for men of faith to be schooled in the arts of writing and reading, in order for them to pass down and spread the will and “word of God”. The word university derives from the Latin “universitas”, which means the whole or community.
The task of universities was mainly to form doctors and priests. As such, the oldest courses taught in these institutions were anatomy, philosophy, theology, history, art, accountancy and, to a certain degree, natural sciences such as physics, chemistry, alchemy, biology, math, etc. The oldest universities in the world are University of Bologna (Italy), University of Oxford (UK), University of Salamanca (Spain), University of Paris (France), University of Cambridge (UK), University of Padua (Italy), Al-Azhar University (Egypt), among others.
The oldest universities in the US are considered to be very prestigious and also tend to be expensive. The prominent among them are the Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Yale University in Connecticut, Princeton and Rutgers Universities in New Jersey, Columbia University in New York City, University of Pennsylvania, Brown University in Rhode Island, among others. However, there are a few newer universities that are also very prestigious and ranks among the best in the world, such as Stanford University, Cornell University, MIT, UCLA, University of Michigan, etc.