Sorry I hadn’t seen your essay. The number of posts is growing so if you don’t reply to an essay it’s kind of hard to find a week later!
I wish there was a way to sort by number of replies. Thanks for the bump anyway, and big thanks to Shieiuan for her reply and comments!
I would try to avoid ‘is becoming’ in your first sentence:
Education is becoming an essential part of the development of societies.
Your introduction is off-topic. Your thesis sentence (I am glad you have one) states that you are going to describe the benefits of education, but the question asks you to differentiate between education for the individual and education for the benefit of society. An examiner would begin to worry here.
Let's have a look at the question again:
It is generally believed that education is of vital importance to individual development and the well-being of societies. What should education consist of to fulfill both these functions?
This is a two-part essay - you have to distinguish between education for individuals and education for society. Education for individuals means helping people to achieve their maximum in their particular skills, not making education the same for everyone. Education for society means stressing harmony and giving some standard skills to everyone, but making the needs of society more important than individual needs.
Here’s a rewrite to bring it closer to the topic
Education is an essential part of the development of society and a driving force for economic prosperity. However, should it focus on developing the individual or should it aim to produce a better society? This essay will discuss how these two goals can be achieved.
Your second paragraph is definitely off topic. It’s perfect according to your thesis sentence, but off topic according to the question. There are no problems with it grammatically or in structure but it’s off-topic.
The third paragraph is more related to the topic. You are basically saying that education helps to identify talented people who will spearhead the development of their society. This is possibly related, but you would need to relate it to the question.
Your third paragraph suggests that education helps bring people together, through technology and the teaching of language. This is nice, but again we need to see a strong topic sentence which is related to the topic.
Your first sentence in the conclusion, on the other hand, is very closely related to the topic, and the examiner will begin to hope again for a good conclusion to save the essay. But the last sentence again just mentions the benefits of education – it summarizes the points in your paragraphs and goes back to your thesis. Great - but the thesis is off topic!
In my opinion, the essay topic is asking writers to differentiate between educating individuals to their fullest potential and educating a mass of workers and future employees. Does the state really want people who think differently or possibly criticize government policies or unjust economic structures? Do employers really want people who think for themselves, or do they want people who are ready to operate machines or click buttons without thinking? What is the point of teaching people to be amazing violinists or neurosurgeons, if the government just needs cheap labour or soldiers?
That’s my interpretation of the question. If people were to be educated to their fullest individual potential, we would have fewer engineering and medical schools, and more music, art and drama classes. We would have more brilliant people, and more happy people, but fewer workers to do the boring jobs.
I haven’t seen this question and it’s a tough one to answer, but that’s my interpretation of it. Have a look at the official descriptors for IELTS Task 2 Writing (public version) here, under Task Response for ‘off-topic’ or ‘unrelated’ - as you can see it’s one of the most serious errors in IELTS.
Hope it’s not too disappointing!
Thanks for Shieiuan for her comments. She is right - your essay is easy to read, but that won't save you if it's off topic. The absolute first thing you have got to do is make sure you answer the question. To be honest, it doesn't happen very often that candidates misunderstand the topic, but it's sad when it does happen.